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Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE in August

Following four successful virtual events, Hotel Designs LIVE, which is completely free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, will return on August 10, 2021. In order to confront ‘zoom fatigue’ with meaningful content, we have just announced the global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions throughout the day. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event at Minotti London, reveals all… 

Hotel Designs LIVE - speakers

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on August 10 to serve up a series of online panel discussions with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the on-going pandemic.

The four topics that have been confirmed for the virtual event, which was recently shortlisted shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards, are senses, sleep, surfaces and social.

Editor Hamish Kilburn will host the event from the comfort of Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom. “For more than a year now, Hotel Designs LIVE has been meaningfully serving the international hotel design and hospitality community by simply keeping the conversation following,” Kilburn explains. “It feels very fitting, considering our previous networking collaborations the luxury Italian furniture brand and its relevant to all of our four panel discussions, to welcome Minotti London as our headline sponsor.”

There are limited spaces available. Simply click here to secure your place in the virtual audience (booking form takes less than two minutes and entry is free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers).

Meet the confirmed speakers (so far): 

The agenda: 

1st session Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate.

1st Session - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE - sleep session

Click here to participate. 

Hotel Designs LIVE – surfaces session

Click here to participate. 

Session 4 - Hotel Designs LIVE

Click here to participate. 

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the women who are pioneering a new wave of design-led motels

With a penchant for ‘great wine and good vibes’, The June is a female-led motelier that was founded by best friends, April Brown and Sarah Sklash. Following our bow to International Women’s Day, Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Brown and Sklash to learn more about how the due are using design into to evolve The June into a leading lifestyle brand…

The June April Brown and Srah Sklash

What started as a side hustle turned into a full-time passion project in 2016, with April Brown and Sarah Sklash converting their first rundown roadside motel into a boutique hospitality destination. Centered on bold feminine design with a retro twist, the two properties, located in Ontario’s Prince Edward County and Sauble Beach, are both set amongst beautiful landscapes that inspire their aesthetics.

To achieve the balance of beautiful design with a plant lady personality, the best friends started by tapping into the epitome of North American motel culture: neon signs, bright coloured doors, and retro Solair chairs. Collaborating with other female-founded businesses, creatives, and makers from their local communities and beyond, The June brand look quickly came together. Everything from the custom bathroom tiles, terrazzo countertops, bespoke wallpaper, and perfect paint shades like Apricot Beige and Palladian Blue set the mood and transform the spaces from roadside motels to places of refuge.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What is your background and how did you get to where you are today? What made you decide to open The June?

April Brown: Simply put, we’re two best friends who took a risk to do something we love. My background is in PR, and Sarah’s is in government, but we both have this love of travel and boutique hospitality, and wanted more than our corporate jobs in Toronto. On New Year’s Day 2016, we finally decided to work together and develop a sort of side hustle. Originally, we wanted to create a weekend “wine camp” for adults, setting up camp at a roadside motel in the Prince Edward County countryside. It didn’t take long for us to realise that there was a bigger idea there, so we visited a dingy, roadside motel and decided to purchase it. It was exciting to take that leap, but what followed was a lot of hard work. We renovated the property entirely ourselves – except for the plumbing and electric – and learned so much along the way. The result is something that we literally built, and we’re looking forward to growing the brand.

HK: What was the inspiration behind The June? How would you describe the style of The June?

Sarah Sklash: The June is a little old school, high-spirited, eccentric, good vibes – and we like to personify that throughout the properties. To achieve all of that, we really focused on the designs, putting a lot of time and attention into every detail. The Prince Edward County property features pink doors, statement palm wallpaper and serious plant lady vibes; Sauble Beach has sun-bleached wallpaper in every room, a retro colour palette, and an idyllic 70s motel pool. Both properties have a balance of North American motel culture (neon signs, bright coloured doors, and retro Solair chairs) while also pulling inspiration from the beautiful surrounding landscapes. The results are visually stimulating, but also feel like you are in a very cool friend’s house. In addition to the design, we like to throw in other nice touches, like a free glass of rosé at check-in.

HK: The June is a big supporter of Female-led businesses, after all you have created one yourself. Tell us about the creatives and makers you have collaborated with for the two properties.  

AB: Wherever we can, we love to partner with like-minded, female-founded and owned businesses in our communities and beyond. The June wasn’t built by us alone; we leaned on a lot of family and friends to help make The June the success it is today, so we really believe in that sense of community. We have a long list of collaborators, having worked with partners on everything from our branding to our custom wallpapers.

Here are some examples of the incredible women we work with:

  • Jackie Treitz, The Paper Bakery, who helped us create and design The June brand
  • Candice Kaye who designed our perfectly sun bleached wallpaper in the guest rooms in Sauble Beach
  • Melissa Condotta of Sunday’s Company, who created our signature scent and in-room apothecary products (body oil, soap and linen spray).

Image of pool in motelHK: How does The June stand out from other hotels and motels in the industry?  

SS: We believe a good amount of our success is because we’re so hands on and everything is from our points of view. We believe ourselves to be the target audience, so there’s an authenticity in everything we do, and luckily it resonates with our guests. Our approach is also very casual, informal, and friendly, which is exactly what people want when they’re looking to escape and unwind.

HK: Earlier this year you launched your e-commerce business. Tell us more about The June Shop and the collections available…

AB: Since we opened our pink doors in Prince Edward County four years ago, our followers have been messaging us and asking where some of our most iconic items are from, and how they can create The June aesthetic at home. We finally decided to reveal our sources and created a destination where our community can shop The June look and find inspiration. Also, with the pandemic and everyone stuck at home for the past year, we wanted to create an opportunity for our guests to bring The June’s iconic vacation vibes home.

Image credit: Kassandra Melnyk Photography

Image credit: Kassandra Melnyk Photography

The Shop features our Core Collection, a small curated selection of our most asked for items and iconic decor accessories that make The June uniquely feminine, like our pink neon signs, bold wallpapers and signature body oil. It’s dedicated to highlighting bold and visionary female founders, who each took a chance on themselves and pursued their dreams to build creatively fulfilling lives on their own terms.

HK: You opened your Sauble Beach property during the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you think this has impacted the business – and have there been any other challenges you’ve had to overcome?

SS: We learned a lot from launching the Prince Edward County property and in the four years since, so we went into the Sauble Beach project with some key learnings and a strong sense of our brand. In terms of opening Sauble Beach, it was actually very satisfying; it was challenging and rewarding at the same time. The project was so much bigger than PEC, including a swimming pool, 24 rooms, and an indoor/outdoor restaurant. When the pandemic hit we of course were concerned, but we stayed flexible and open to learning. We accommodated staff schedules, implemented new policies, relied on government subsidies, and overall made the best of it as much as we could. Being a small business you have to stay proactive and reactive. We did and it worked. 

HK: So what’s next for The June? 

SS: Right now, we’re looking forward to opening our doors again once Covid restrictions in Canada lift. As for the future, we’re hoping to grow the brand and bring The June to more communities, continue working with inspiring brand partners, and beyond. We’re proud of what we created, and want to deliver as much good vibes and good wine to all as we possibly can.

Main image credit: Lauren Miller Photography

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing Hotel Indigo Warsaw inside an antique tenement house

Hotel Indigo Warsaw is sheltered under a spectacular architectural shell. We spoke to the team at Kulczyński Architekt Workshop to understand the challenges and triumphs of designing the city’s latest boutique hotel…

In the Warsaw City Centre, in the tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, there is Hotel Indigo Wasaw – a boutique hotel that HD has followed from concept to completion – which is now visited by guests from all of the world.

inside Hotel Indigo Warsaw

They are being enchanted not only by a perfect location but also by the building itself – its elements have been carefully restored and also improved by skilfully adding modern architectural solutions, which together appear uniquely attractive. Bogdan Kulczyński, from Kulczyński Architekt Workshop, was responsible for the revitalisation of the tenement house.

The history of the tenement house goes as far as the beginning of the 20th century when count Ksawery Branicki, owner of properties adjacent to Branicki Palace (at Nowy Świat 18/20 Street), decided to divide them into six parcels and build buildings on them, facing Smolna Street. Branicki entrusted a project of five tenement houses (the sixth parcel went to another owner) to Bronisław Brochwicz-Rogoyski. In the corner house, at the number 40, came into existence a summer residence of Branicki family – the construction was finished in 1903. More than 40 years later, during the Second World War, the tenement house was bombarded and plundered. In October 1945 Bolesław Bierut decided that the house was going to become a state property. The building was reconstructed again according to remaining plans and photographs. For a short time it was a main office of the First Secretary of Polish United Workers’ Party.

Up until the 1970s, when the building was regained by Branicki family, it was the headquarters of the Polish Socialist Youth Union. At the end of the 1980s, the tenement house was listed as a vintage building. In 2014 the building was bought by an investor who envisioned creating an elegant, boutique hotel in this place. The renovation project was entrusted to Bogdan Kulczyński who is an architect and has a lot of experience in this type of projects. Three years later Hotel Indigo opened its doors for guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

In search of tracks

Eclectic and heavily adorned elevation of tenement house at Smolna 40 Street, which was supposed to inform about status of Branicki family, was in a poor state. The original roof also did not survive – the highest floor was destroyed by bombs and fire. “One can say that the tenement house was scalped and the roof, which was reconstructed in the middle of the last century, did not match at all with the whole building,” said architect Bogdan Kulczyński. “We knew that initially it must have looked differently. A conservator agreed to some little adjustments to the roof but did not agree to add an entire floor.”

The architect and his team were forced to look in libraries and other historical sources for some hints how the original construction looked like. “At first we found a layout on which the roof was present, next we saw a movie, which was recorded from a plane but unfortunately after Warsaw Uprising,” says Bogdan Kulczyński. “Luckily, the walls, with traces of fire, were still standing – and based on them, we managed to reproduce a real height of the roof. This gave us an opportunity to acquire an immediate approval of the conservator to bring back a historical character of this building.” In order to point out that the roof is new and restored, it has been completed with lucarnes made of glass. They are not the only one modern aspect of the front of the building, but also introduce more light into hotel rooms. A modern, completely glazed annexe was built at the back of the tenement house. Connecting an original style with modern materials and elements is one of hallmarks of Kulczyński Architekt Workshop.

Adjustment to modern functionality

At first, the building was suitable for habitation but after the war it transformed into an office and with the passing of time its condition continuously deteriorated. – Patio was dreadful, one could here make movies about the end of the world – mentions the architect. In the revitalisation project every wall, ceiling and staircase were preserved. Interior patio, which today serves as a hotel lobby, is finished with a glass roof on the last floor and there is also a restaurant on high floor. In the underground part of the building there are conference rooms, technical infrastructure and kitchen. 2KUL Interior Design Workshop provided the refreshed hotel with interior design. “From an apartment building it transformed into a hotel, so its function is the same, the only difference is the time period for which people stay in,” Bogdan Kulczyński sums up. Hotel Indigo is an outstanding example of how an idea by an architect living and working almost one hundred and twenty years ago can be effectively merged with modern elements and functions.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Locke’s new home, ‘rugspiration’ & a Four Seasons journey

Roll up, roll up, read all about it – Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. In this week’s round-up we share some of our top stories from the week, including our feature on Tara Bernerd’s journey through Four Seasons, our exclusive on Modieus’ new rug collection and the latest on Omni Hotel & Resorts’ hotel development in Texas… 

For the first time in a long time, the team at Hotel Designs were let out of their homes this week in order to explore hospitality, in person, once more. The moment of euphoria was short-lived, though, after I confidently walked into Carlton Tower Jumeirah – a hotel that has recently completed a full renovation – only to find that it was not opening until July – and we were in fact (unknowingly I would like to add) trespassing. Awkward encounter with security aside, it make me realise that despite many hotels having now opened their doors, it will be a while until we can freely walk into a hotel lobby without having to show proof of reservation. What is reassuring is to see hotel developments that shelter designs that will enhance public areas, connect locals and travellers alike and ultimately share the beauty of interaction – something we will all need after this unpredictable storm passes.

With that in mind, let’s think positively when rounding off another week with our top and most-read stories from over the last few days.

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Read more.

First look: Modieus launches Makers’ Mark rug collection

Spontaneous Mark – Modieus

Image credit: Modieus

Makers’ Mark is a collection by Modieus of unique rug designs inspired by the process of making art. The brand’s latest body of work began with the design team experimenting with a series of traditional artistic techniques – dedicating time to painting, creating collages and drawing. The team then took their original artist work and digitally manipulated the images to achieve an immersive and interactive art experience…

Read more.

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

Image credit: Joe Thomas

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Read more.

Construction begins for Omni Hotel & Resorts’ new resort in Frisco, Texas

Guestroom inside the Omni hotel in Texas

Render credit: SB Architects

SB Architects is celebrating the official groundbreaking of the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort, mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas, which will include a 501-key hotel. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the design for the destination golf course, 501-key Omni PGA Frisco Resort and premier golf and retail experience, will usher in a new era for the sport. Let’s take a look as to what we can expect…

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

indexPRO founders

indexPRO: A new platform launched to simplify FF&E specifying for designers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
indexPRO: A new platform launched to simplify FF&E specifying for designers

Launching ‘the future of interior design efficiency’, indexPRO has launched to allow designers to collaborate in real-time on their FF&E specification, with reliable product details from renowned, design-led, International brands held on the technologically advanced cloud-based platform. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

indexPRO founders

The implementation of interior design projects often looks effortless, the grand opening eagerly presented to the awaiting press whose educated eye absorbs the perfection of the interior. Behind the scenes the extensive team of interior designers, owners, operators and procurement companies collectively breathe a sigh of relief, while their eyes are keenly fixed towards the next project. The implementation of design projects is complex. Beset on all sides with challenges, changes and sometimes even a pinch of chaos! And it is this commonly recognised complexity that led to Murad Saleh and Gail Thompson to launch indexPRO – more, we are told, than a simple FF&E scheduling tool, the cloud-based platform enables interior designers, brands, operators and procurement companies to actively collaborate within the platform on a project by project basis.

Introducing a dynamic new way of working

Whether designers are running a multi-location design firm or an individual design consultancy, indexPRO facilitates the flow of information, with all parties kept up to date with the latest details of the project:  Manufacturers discontinue an item or change product specification? Procurement companies alter their supply chain? Designers tweak the design specification? With indexPRO all changes are visible to everyone on the team, in real-time.

Designers can select from either an extensive selection of pre-approved international brands or add in their own product selection. Projects can be categorised by area, such as lobby, gym or suite and team members can be customised for each area giving users complete control and reassurance of privacy. Once specified within the indexPRO platform, designers can invite project partners to participate within the project.

The consequential productivity boost for time-challenged designers using indexPRO is astounding. With access to the extensive product database, and the networks who manage them, they can effortlessly realise their design vision, reducing the time spent on specification, whether for a luxury villa or an extensive 500-room hotel, by around 80 per cent – making more time available for creativity and ingenuity whilst reducing the potential for error.

A timely evolution in the design process

The launch of indexPro comes at a time when organisations and professionals across the world have been accelerating their digital transformation, a time when it has become critical to facilitate the easy collaboration of remote teams. Historically, following the successful approval of the design concept, architects or interior designers would utilise their Computer Aided Design skills to produce drawings which can be implemented by the build team. However, the ensuing FF&E schedule, where all the products such as fabrics, washbasins, coffee tables and lamps are detailed, has sadly been neglected in any technological advancement, with designers often resorting to an Excel, Word or even Powerpoint file.

The IndexPRO platform allows the user to easily prepare the FF&E schedule, within its intuitive cloud-based structure. By utilising a Big Data Architecture Pattern, the platform can effectively handle the vast quantity of data available on each product, which can include photos and specification text, whilst Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning creates a smart, intuitive environment for designers to work.

“Our team of engineers have designed a robust, future-proof infrastructure which can operate in a dependable and efficient way, facilitating easy collaboration,” says Saleh. “As a skilled procurement professional, we’ve received over the years specifications in many different formats. Providing an up to date platform for collaboration on the FF&E schedule is something which we feel is well overdue.”

“Although exciting, fun and even considered the delicious icing on the cake, the FF&E specification schedule has a dark side; a blend of human error, unnecessary repetitive tasks and lengthy time-frames turns this job of joy into a pressure cooker of panic,” adds co-founder Gail Thomson. “Testing indexPRO on our own design projects has allowed us to develop the platform into one we know really works.”

The launch of indexPRO is the first phase of an extensive development programme. Both Thomson and Saleh are clearly passionate about the online collaboration of project partners in order to streamline the design and implementation process. Their vision? To drive the future of interior design efficiency.

Main image credit: indexPRO

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Home-meets-hotel brand Locke opens first hotel outside the UK

Following what can only be regarded as dominating the home-meets-hotel market in lockdown with several openings of design-led properties in London, pioneering hospitality brand Locke, which joined Hotel Designs LIVE in October last year to explore adding personality in public areas, has opened its first hotel outside of the UK. Zanzibar Locke overlooks Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin…

Locke Zanzibar guestroom

Zanzibar Locke, the latest property from home-meets-hotel brand Locke, is strategically positioned in Dublin’s city centre. Overlooking Ha’penny Bridge, Zanzibar Locke is the brand’s sixth property and first outside of the UK, featuring 160 studio apartments, an original food and beverage offering, gym, and a locally-led cultural programme. 

Brick wall in lobby in Zanzibar Locke

Image credit: Locke

Locke leads the way in a hybrid travel concept that combines the space and comfort of home with the experience and thoughtful design of a boutique hotel. Each of Zanzibar Locke’s studio apartments come equipped with fully fitted kitchens and living space. Generously-sized rooms create a sense of freedom unique to the Irish market, where guests can enjoy the option of a short stay in a City Studio (average 25sqm) or retreat to a larger premium River Suite (average 40sqm) for a long term stay. 

“We are very excited to finally be welcoming leisure travellers into our first property outside of the UK,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “It has been a great experience familiarising ourselves with the local Dublin market – and early indications show that our unique aparthotel concept is something new and exciting that the city needs at this pivotal moment. With a second opening in Dublin later this year, we are delighted to be able to welcome all guests in time for summer.”

The aparthotel will house new food destination BARAZA, operated by Dublin foodie favourites NolaClan (House Dublin, 9 Below and Xico). Located on the mezzanine floor, BARAZA will serve coffee and light bites in the morning, before transitioning into a lively restaurant serving seasonal small plates and craft cocktails.

Situated on Ormond Quay, with views overlooking the River Liffey, Zanzibar Locke draws on its rich architectural heritage to inform its design. Formerly site of the infamous noughties’ hotspot Zanzibar Nightclub – which inspired the property’s name – the Georgian building has been sensitively restored and developed by Dublin-based interior design studio O’Donnell O’Neill Design and C+W O’Brien Architects. Working with local contractors, joiners and artists, O’Donnell O’Neill retained the original character of the building, while combining the stylish design, contemporary fittings and custom furniture synonymous with Locke.

From its interiors to music playlists, the brand has worked extensively with Irish partners and suppliers to create Zanzibar Locke, including O’Donnell O’Neill Design, sustainable fashion brand GROWN, and DJ and founder of creative collective Gxrl Code, Mona Lxsa. In doing so, the brand aims to build a unique, inclusive environment that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of its neighbourhood.

Locke Zanzibar lobby

Image credit: Locke

“Locke’s forward-thinking aparthotel concept has shown resilience throughout the pandemic,” added Osgur Ó Ciardha, Country General Manager. “In an exceptionally challenging year for Irish hospitality, we were able to remain open throughout the national lockdown to house essential stays largely enabled by the self-contained apartments. We are looking forward to welcoming back leisure travellers.” 

Alan Clancy, Founder, NolaClan, commented: “We’re excited to partner with Locke on its food and drink offering in Dublin, and bring our new restaurant and bar concept, BARAZA, to Zanzibar Locke. Our ambition is to create an all-day dining experience in a vibrant, beautiful environment that locals and travelers alike can enjoy.”

As the world continues to navigate travel over the coming months, Locke’s self-contained studio apartments provide safe, clean, and flexible accommodation for business and leisure travellers, as well as short-term residents. Zanzibar Locke’s opening to leisure travellers follows an extended soft launch period where the property housed guests for essential stays and those in need of an interim home during lockdown, which was possible due to the self-contained design of the apartments. As a result, Zanzibar Locke experienced an average of 27 days length of stay, with an average occupancy of 40 per cent occupancy – considerably outperforming the Dublin industry average of 10 per cent.

Main image credit: Locke

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons through the eyes of designer Tara Bernerd

From one iconic brand to another, to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, we take a look back at Tara Bernerd‘s design journey with the hotel group – from London to New York – in order to understand how the designer and her team created such interesting design narratives…

Four Seasons Forte Lauderdale, designed by Tara Bernerd

Long-time design collaborators for Four Seasons, designer Tara Bernerd and her team have created a plethora of typologies for the brand, from urban hotels, including the interior design for the hotel’s guestrooms of Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and also the Empire Suite in Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, to resorts such as the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. Bernerd is currently working as the lead creative for the 148-bedroom property as well as 50 condo rooms and private residences, opening later this year.

Throughout all three hotels, the studio’s aim to embody the aesthetics of the Four Seasons brand whilst simultaneously creating meaning and connection through a distinct sense of place. By balancing the studio’s refined design principles with Four Seasons signature style, Bernerd and her team create something entirely new for each region.

Speaking about the design of each Four Seasons project, the designer says: “It’s very much a part of our philosophy to make every property unique, with its own story to tell. As we create custom projects for each hotel, we try and refrain from bracketing ourselves into a particular style. However, there is a common aspiration found behind all our work through the themes of colour, topography and geography. Fusing these touchpoints, we create individual experiences in each location.”

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Image credit: Philip Vile

Last month, the hotel welcomed back guests to experience its newly renovated, re-modelled Superior and Deluxe Rooms and Junior Conservatories in partnership with British designer Tara Bernerd & Partners.

Designed to bring a freshness to the hotel, the studio’s holistic approach and their use of bespoke design, lighter colours and materials, were specifically chosen to create a more spacious feel for guests on entry. Each room displays Bernerd’s signature handsome style of approachable luxury with a timeless elegance and the Hotel’s prestigious location situated between three of London’s Royal Parks was an immediate source of inspiration for Belgravia-based Tara Bernerd & Partners, with hints of green incorporated into the classic colour palette to add a modern edge.

As with each of the projects Bernerd and her team undertake, the location and geography in which the hotel is set was a key source of inspiration. This thread runs throughout the furniture and finishes, indeed extending to the art. Greeting the guest in the entryway to the deluxe room are two prints created from old tailors’ suit patterns, a nod to the sartorial history of Savile Row which resides in close proximity to the hotel. A triptych over the headboard depicts deconstructed photographs and sketches of London from the turn of the century. Found in old picture books in a Notting Hill antique shop, these pieces are particularly special. 

The art in the superior rooms take inspiration from the iconic views over Hyde Park. Three abstract pieces hang above the bed, one of which loosely explains the layout of the park, with another having been painted by a Four Seasons employee. Not only does the piece fit perfectly within the room’s palette, but the hotel’s connection to the artist creates a meaningful story behind each piece.

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Image credit: Joe Thomas

Having recently reopened, this Tribeca based Four Seasons presents its reimagined Empire Suite by British interior designer Tara Bernerd. In the updated design, Tara and her team focused on optimising the layouts and furniture placement within the suite to take advantage of the unparalleled views across the city, while simultaneously providing larger spaces for entertaining and more intimate, homely cocoons. Providing essential versatility, the home office/study was redesigned to make the most of the natural light and give guests the option of using the space as a second bedroom. The Principal Bedroom was designed to provide the ultimate sleep sanctuary with soft silks and hand painted de Gournay wall panels to add a touch of drama.

Featuring a living room, dining room, media room, study, walk-in closet, two bathrooms, master bedroom and a full catering kitchen, the Empire Suite offers the ultimate sanctuary and comes complete with a $25,000-per-night Empire Suite Experience that includes helicopter airport transfers, limousine transfers, daily breakfast for two, a personal spa retreat and  more.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Opening later this year, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale sets a new standard in contemporary living, set in a prime location on Fort Lauderdale’s desirable North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.

Complete with unparalleled views across the Atlantic Ocean to one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, Tara Bernerd and her team have taken inspiration from the natural beauty and quality of light in Fort Lauderdale – the pale silver sands, blue seas and stunning Floridan sunsets. Known for its yachting heritage, the studio have sought to encapsulate the elegance of a previous design era of Chris Craft yachts and Capri pants to create an approachable luxury with a timeless quality.

Main render credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts/ Tara Bernerd & Partners

Unidrain: Minimalism meets industrial

Minimalism meets industrial in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Minimalism meets industrial in the bathroom

The new addition to the GlassLine series of designer shower screens from Unidrain can perfectly be described as minimalism meets industrial. The leading Danish design company and creators of the original linear drain are infamous for their sleek designs and the unique ability to highlight ‘invisibility’…

Unidrain: Minimalism meets industrial

One of the most dramatic options and currently a key trend in bathroom interior design is to use black for fixtures and fittings. Unidrain are delighted to introduce a new version of their impressive GlassLine shower screen; defined with a distinctive black frame; this industrial, New York loft style design complements the Reframe Accessories collection and the black variant of the HighLine Colour drain perfectly.

The GlassLine shower screen is 10mm of clear tempered glass which is secured discreetly and securely without any visible display of fixings, screws, fittings or joins.

GlassLine_black frame_closeup_low

Image credit: Unidrain

The screen is mounted in a shower base situated under the bathroom flooring, designed to be used in conjunction with the ShowerLine drain unit it comes complete with a groove-in-the-floor-flange.

The screen lowered into this before being attached to the wall, this not only ensures the screens stability but that the interior of the shower area is water tight. The black frame sits against the tiles, hiding any edges and creating a clean smooth finish.

Enclosed in black powder-coated metal, the interior panel of each quality glass screen is treated with Cleantech nano-treatment, this increases the screens hygiene standards as water runs of the glass with ease and it is extremely easy to clean and maintain a clear finish.

Available in three sizes: 800mm, 900mm and 1000mm and a height of 2104mm the shower screen can be mounted to the left or right and fits tile thicknesses up to 15mm for wall tiles and 20mm for floor tiles.

Unidrain is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Unidrain

Weekly briefing 4th june

Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Sleep masterclass, award winners & art outside the frame

Allow me, Hamish Kilburn, to walk you through this week’s top design and hospitality stories. The weekly briefing was designed with busy on-the-go designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in mind – so kick back, relax and scroll down to read a snapshot of this week’s happenings…

It’s been a turbulent week – in fact year – for the travel industry, as the UK government continues to play chess with tourism boards that rely heavily on UK tourism.

Weekly briefing 4th june

With the latest ‘check’ against Portugal now being moved off the ‘green list’ it’s becoming more and more likely for the industry to lose yet another season due to new variants of Covid-19.

However, that hasn’t stopped or hindered plans for brands to re-open showing solidarity and strength – as can be seen in our latest VIP arrivals story, which takes a closer look at this month’s hottest hotel openings. It also hasn’t affected young designers’ creativity, as seen in this year’s shortlisted entries for the Accor Design Awards, which concluded this week.

To round off yet another week, while the sun is still shining the UK – good news for staycation businesses – here are what we believe are this week’s top stories…

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

Overall winner: Nomadish

Overall winner: Nomadish

Our most-read story of the week comes from Accor’s spectacular, global campaign to find the world’s most talented design students. First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry. I had the privilege of sitting on this year’s judging panel – and what an experience it was… Finally, we can now announce the winners.

Read more.

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in June 2021

White room inside OMMA Santorini

Image credit: OMMA Santorini

A few weeks ago, restricted by green, amber and red lists – it’s as if we are at a junction and the traffic lights are broken – we on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs unveiled the best design hotels to visit in Portugal. But, as you know, we are a global platform and have over the last few months been publishing our VIP Arrivals series, which takes a closer look at the latest hotels opening on the hotel design scene.

For the June edition, things are hotting us as the summer season approaches. Although (for the time being, at least) many desirable destinations remain untouchable, we thrown down the metaphorical towels on the sun loungers for you at the new hotels we have recently added to our own travel bucket list. Here’s our editor’s pick of the must-visit hotels opening in June.

Read more.

Judges have been announced for The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Virtual hotel design masterclass: The science of sleep

Image credit: YOTEL

In a recent article exclusively published on Hotel Designs, Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight Group, shared an ‘experts guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep’. In this article, she explored the optimum environment to enhance the best sleep performance, which included looking at temperature, lighting and comfort – or ‘TLC’ as she puts it.

Following this insightful piece, it felt natural for us to extend an invitation out to a cluster of designers and hospitality experts to explore with the professionals at Silentnight Group, the science of sleep.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Art outside the frame

Following two engaging panel discussions looking at a new era of lifestyle and bathrooms beyond practical spaces, the third debate virtually sheltered under Hotel Designs LIVE was around challenging conventional portrayal of art in hotel design. Sponsored by Elegant Clutter, which prides itself on offering a professionally different approach to art consultancy, this chapter of the event addressed new demands from public areas and clever ways to inject branding and sense of place in hospitality establishments.

Read more.

M Social arrives in New York

M Social NY terrace night view

Image credit: M Social

Ever since checking in to M Social Singapore, designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, a few years ago, I was convinced that this brand would thrive in the concrete neighbourhood of Manhattan. With the opening of a 480-key hotel located at 226 West 52 Street  –literally in the heard of Times Square to you and I – it’s about time (and it’s better late than never).

Read more.

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

Image credit: The Lost Poet

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Read more. 

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Villa Igiea

Now open: Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea

Rocco Forte Hotels, the prestigious family-run hotel group, led by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister, Olga Polizzi, has unveiled the newly restored Villa Igiea in Sicily…

Recently included in our VIP Arrivals series, Villa Igia, the historical Art Nouveau palazzo overlooking the Gulf of Palermo, originally designed by Ernesto Basile commissioned by the influential Florio family, returns to its former splendour as a jewel of the Mediterranean.

Villa Igiea

Villa Igiea’s location, nestled between land and sea, makes it a perfect base to discover the extensive cultural heritage of Palermo, which provides visitors with enchanting sights and unique experiences. Built in 1900, the historic palazzo has been meticulously renovated by Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairperson & Design Director of Rocco Forte Hotels, in collaboration with renowned architects Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Studios.

Over the last two years, the intricate restoration process has enhanced the hotel’s charm and renovated the building’s Belle Époque feel. Villa Igiea’s allure has been reinstated, combining the architectural grandeur of the past with contemporary comfort of the 21st century in the design and style of Rocco Forte Hotels.

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

“Villa Igiea is an iconic building which, like its original owner Franca Florio, is a grand lady of charm and elegance and a symbol of hospitality,” said Sir Rocco Forte, CEO and Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels. “It has been the focal point of the city of Palermo for over 100 years hosting artists, emperors and the Hollywood elite, enraptured by the wonders of Sicily. I am so proud to be part of the history of this remarkable hotel and to have had the chance to restore it to its original splendour.”

Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels Fulvio Pierangelini will oversee the Florio Restaurant, the Igiea Terrazza Bar and the Alicetta Pool Bar, serving delicious Sicilian flavours with unmistakable expertise. Each restaurant will portray the culinary history of Sicily – “a simple, but not simplistic cuisine, which is sincere and unrestrained; respect for little everyday gestures which perfect the island’s thousand- year-old culinary art, realising au gout du jour marvels; this cuisine embodies family, generosity and femininity” chef Pierangelini comments.

The Florio Restaurant welcomes guests into an elegant and refined, yet joyful atmosphere, typical of seaside Grand Hotels. The muted colours of the interior design, and the large floor-to-ceiling windows which reveal wondrous views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, recall the golden age. Seasonal produce, harvested locally and from the Verdura Resort vegetable garden, along with fresh fish and crustaceans, pasta, fried delicacies and arancini are just some of the ingredients of this natural, authentic cuisine.

Image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Suspended between the botanic gardens and the Mediterranean Sea, the Igiea Terrazza Bar, is reminiscent of Edwardian high society and boasts marvellous frescoes by Palermo artist Eugenio (Geno) Morici. A wide selection of Florio liquors and drinks from the “Spirit of Igiea” cocktail list designed by the maestro Salvatore Calabrese, is inspired by Sicilian fragrances and illustrious guests who have honoured hotel the with their presence. Open from lunchtime, the bar serves a range of snacks and main dishes as well as the “Leggero by Fulvio Pierangelini” menu with its many healthy, flavourful delights.

Housed in a pavilion reminiscent of Palazzo Butera, the Alicetta Pool Bar offers a tasty menu of the day with Sicilian specialities as well as raw fish dishes, sashimi, seafood, fresh fish and crustaceans ready to be grilled. Local steamed and grilled vegetables and rich mixed salads will complete the menu, with pizza and filled focaccias baked in the outdoor oven. The tempting sweet trolley offers a selection of fresh fruit and home-made ice-creams.

For the opening of Villa Igiea, the Concierge team has created a series of itineraries, which guarantee unforgettable memories, and allow guests to get to know Palermo, the city of a thousand faces. With its eight UNESCO heritage sites and the intense colours and scents of the local markets, this Mediterranean gem offers endless inspiration for discovering the city’s historical, architectonic and landscape delights. You can choose from the “Jewish Palermo”, “The Leopard Tour”, “Local market tour with cooking lesson”, decide to take the “Florio trail” or explore the island’s coastal roads on a Porsche cabriolet in complete freedom and much more.

Main image credit: Rocco Forte Hotels

Accor Design Awards

Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor Design Awards – and the winners are…

During the Accor Design Awards – a global campaign – design students pushed conventional boundaries to redefine the services and guest experience that will ultimately shape the hospitality landscape of tomorrow. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who was on this year’s judging panel, has more about this year’s winners…

First launched in in 2016, the Accor Design Awards aim to rethink the future of hospitality in collaboration with design students the world over. Their creativity blended with Accor’s know-how, provide unique solutions and new concepts for the hospitality industry.

Accor Design Awards

For the fifth edition, candidates’ brief was to “redefine the services and guest experiences that will shape the hospitality of tomorrow”. Respected visionary designer Beth Campbell, founder and CEO of Campbell House, presided over this edition, while the international jury of experts had the task to select the top three projects across many submissions from design schools around the globe. After establishing a shortlist of 10 projects, the jury gathered online on May 25 to select top three projects and from them an overall winner. Finally, on June 1, the winners were announced in an online award ceremony.

“I’m very impressed by the level of this edition contest,” said Damien Perrot, Global Senior Vice President at Accor, who recently took part in our roundtable that explored lifestyle hospitality in 2021 and beyond. “I would like to congratulate the winners but also to thank the 150 students who participated to this contest and who are the students we would like to work with in the future. The future is definitively today because when we work on projects, we always think of what could be the world in the next 10 years.”

Manon Figuier, Victoire Datchary, Mathéo Maurel, Harold Loquillard from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, whose project NOMADish provided an innovative solution that hit the three key goals: overall guest experience, element of surprise and delight, and consideration for social, economic, and environmental responsibility, won the first prize. They also won the Public Choice Award, voted for by the general public via our bespoke online award voting platform.

Overall winner: NOMADish

They will spend a five-day experience between Barcelona and Basel offered by Roca and Laufen, the campaign’s official sponsors, to discover the brands centre of innovation, see Art Basel and spend a wonderful time in these two beautiful cities.

The second prize was awarded to Ashley Ulm from Berlin International University for her Relove Hotel project, a sustainable and deeply locally conscious concept that goes beyond a biophilic design scheme. Ulm will enjoy a three-day stay in Basel offered by sponsors Roca and Laufen brands.

The Waterwalk project was awarded the third prize. The concept of the world’s first ‘floating and flying cruise’ inspired the judges to look outside the conventional perimeter in order to unlock something quite spectacular. As a prize, Fanny Jalet, Nolwenn Arhuis, Julie David and Lucie Vallée from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique will spend three days in Barcelona with Roca teams.

Third prize: Waterwalk

Last but not least, this year’s entries were of such a high standard, that the judges insisted on awarding an extra Special jury prize to the Cocoon project. The hotel presented to the judges catered to the rising demand of bleisure travel. Forget the typical corporate shell, though. This hotel suite concept – made from biopolymer and local wood – would become a one-off travel experience in Africa.  Yasmine Bennani, Solène Percie Du Serf, Nicolas Alibert and Alexandre Albert-Picquet from L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique were offered a Jo&Joe experience in Paris, and Hotel Designs will catch up with the team shortly to learn more about how the project would come to life.

In addition to the prize winners, the shortlisted finalists included hospitality concepts in space, suspended on the side of a mountain and even on the bottom of a cliff, which used the natural tides as a way to naturally and effortless change the guests’ setting. Innovative sustainability solutions were evident in all projects, as was the sensory experience.

Supported by Hotel Designs, the Accor Design Awards will return next year. 

Main image credit: Accord Design Awards

Bette launches BetteAir Design Competition

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bette launches BetteAir Design Competition

Bathroom manufacturer Bette is calling on creative minds to design ‘the walk-in shower bathroom of the future’ featuring BetteAir, the world’s first glazed titanium-steel shower tile. Architects, designers, bathroom planners and students have the chance to give free rein to their creativity and win a personal feature on Bette’s social media channels, as well as a free BetteAir shower tile…

With BetteAir, Bette completes the evolution of the shower tray into part of the bathroom floor and opens up unprecedented possibilities in bathroom design. Like a conventional tile, it can be glued directly onto the screed, making the shower area an integral part of the bathroom floor and seeming to merge with it. With a choice of 31 colours, there are virtually no limits to creativity – whether colourful, contrasting or barely seen..

To participate in the competition, submit a design  for the “walk-in shower bathroom of the future” as a PDF, JPG or PNG. Real bathroom projects are also welcome. The deadline for entries is June 28, 2021. A jury, including Dominik Tesseraux (Tesseraux & Partner, Potsdam), the designer of BetteAir, will select the most exciting, unique and creative design concepts from the entries. The winner will be decided by a community vote on Bette’s social media channels from July 5, 2021. In addition, direct voting is possible on the website, where the CAD downloads and entry conditions can also be found.

As well as being a Recommended Supplier, Bette was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, 2021. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on August 10, 2021

Main image credit: Bette

In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Alex Tredez on designing The Lost Poet

In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn meets Alex Tredez, the lead designer of The Lost Poet, a new boutique hotel that shelters oodles of quirky and local personality. Ahead of it opening as a ‘modern interpretation of a traditional guest house’ on London’s Portobello Road, we took a sneak peek inside…

“We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences,” Alex Tredez, lead designer of The Lost Poet, explains to me as we start to discuss one of West London’s most anticipated hotel openings this year.

Deeply rooted in its surrounding area, The Lost Poet, a hotel that is expected to open its doors this month following much anticipation, comes from the team at Cubic Studios – a local property design studio, born and bred in Notting Hill. The townhouse, located at Number 6, Portobello Road in London’s quaint Notting Hill neighbourhood, is a poetic love letter to the area, celebrating its creativity and dynamism through four individually designed bedrooms. The design harnesses the colour and playful curiosity of Portobello Road and takes inspiration from the market, mixing the old with the new. I was lucky enough to see beyond the colourful sketches to get a sneak peek and interview with the project’s lead designer.

The Lost Poet illustration

Image caption: An illustration of the exterior of the hotel

Hamish Kilburn: How will the hotel’s design challenge conventional London hospitality?

Alex Tredez: The Lost Poet is a modern interpretation of a traditional guest house. As far as we know, there is nothing quite like it. 

We felt that there was a gap in the market for accommodation which offers high quality service, attention to detail and professionalism synonymous with the hotel experience – but also offering an authentic local experience which guests love about Airbnb-like residences. 

It’s a concept that we thought is perfect for a city stay as it gives the traveller the best of both worlds. The guest house is an experience / destination on its own but it’s also very much rooted in the local area. The idea was to create accommodation for those who want to explore and experience the neighbourhood but also want a comfortable and characterful space to retreat to and relax in. Notting Hill is such a lively area with so much to offer we’d like to think we can encourage guests to explore it and enjoy. 

The small scale of the property and technology used through-out give the guests maximum privacy and flexibility. For example, the online check-in feature allows the guests to submit necessary information ahead of their stay, keyless access enables them to open the accommodation simply using their mobile phone. No matter what time the guests arrive at the property they are able to just walk in straight into the room. The receptionist and online support are there to answer any queries and provide assistance. The guests are free to have as little or as much face to face contact with the guest house staff as they choose. 

 We believe it is The Lost Poet’s unique mix of qualities is what will challenge the conventional hospitality. 

HK: With so much history in that area of London, how did you narrow down the interior design scheme?

AT: Embracing the rich history and character of the area was a huge part of the brief and a challenge we very much enjoyed. We felt it was important for this rich mix of culture and history to translate into the interiors. Our other objective was for the scheme to feel coherent and polished and have the same attention to detail that we strive to achieve on our residential projects. Having worked in Notting Hill for many years, this project is close to our hearts.  

The iconic pastel terraces of Portobello and nearby roads definitely inspired us. For this we drew from the classic proportions and timeless elegance of Georgian buildings in Notting Hill. Their construction uses a limited palette of materials such as yellow brick, stucco and stone and is what gives these streets coherence and harmony. However, instead of using a complex multi coloured palette throughout the property we decided to use different palette for each room. Our objective was to convey the vibrancy and playfulness of the area in The Lost Poet as a whole but have each bedroom feel more tranquil creating for the guests a welcome break from the surrounding bustle.

Using the colour as the tool adding individuality to the rooms also allowed us to use same architectural features and a similar overall design approach in each room so that they all feel like they belong in the same property but also have individual character. 

“We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

For eclectic and layered interior we used a mix of elegant classical inspired detailing and proportions, luxury traditional materials, modern forms as well as contemporary patterns. We opted for mid tone and dark wood to add warmth and really tie the antique and retro furniture together. Reclaimed and natural  materials add comfort and create domestic/ informal feel. Asymmetrical balance adds playfulness, visual interest and relaxed vibe. 

HK: How do you predict the pandemic will change the way modern travellers explore? 

AT: The pandemic has made many people really think about the way we travel and why we travel. We suspect it will change the way we explore. For starters, customers will put extra value on smart solutions such as online check-in and keyless access which can add the feeling of safety as well as flexibility. Travellers are looking for a more personal connection which values quality over quantity. Bespoke and meaningful experiences will be even more valued and by a wider portion of the market – the discerning traveller will make conscious choices, people having to really research and plan, less impulse decisions. Travellers may be willing to stay in one place for longer. For us this means longer stays, taking things at a slower pace which in turn means more time to explore the area. Guests are more conscious about sustainability, and we expect to see an increase in eco and wellness tourism.

I also think that we may see an increase in last minute bookings – still considered plans but confirmed shorter lead times than what the industry standard was in 2019.

HK: What’s the scene like on Portobello Road? 

At the moment? We are happy to see many restaurants and bars are and have been adapting well. We are seeing increased number of al-fresco dining and dining options. Some businesses have been burned though the pandemic and have since blossomed (just one example is Buns from Home). 

In general? We love that there are so many small businesses and restaurants on the street. You can wine and dine here for a week and not have to go to the same place twice. You can find everything from Moroccan sweets, through to Michelin starred restaurants as well as highly specialised vendors (vintage glasses, unique blends of tea, bespoke perfume etc). 

HK: Now more than ever design and service must answer each other. How is this the case inside The Lost Poet? 

AT: The Lost Poet thrives on its attention to detail. Since the inception of the design phase of the project to the thought put into the guest experience, the devil has been in the detail. The Lost Poet is Cubic’s love letter to Notting Hill, it’s part of the community, in the coolest neighbourhood in London. We want our guests to experience that, to feel and love the quirkiness and the friendly embrace of Portobello. The design of the rooms is intended to feel like home, we want our guests to be able to come ‘home’ to The Lost Poet and the end of their day. The service will be reflected in that. We only have a few rooms so which allows us to provide a much more personal experience and adapt to ever-changing guest needs. Everything from toiletries to our seasonal breakfast offering has been carefully considered.  

“We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation.” – Alex Tredez, lead designer, The Lost Poet.

HK: How do the bathrooms inside the property go beyond just being practical spaces

AT: We have put a lot of thought into making sure they are very special, each bathroom is as unique to the room (different finish on the sanitaryware, different wallpapers, different layouts). We have closely considered how guests would get ready and added seating where possible and wall lighting to help elevate this experience, creating a beautiful space where you can still enjoy your daily rituals. We wanted to create that ‘wow’ moment and the special feel you’d expect from a luxury spa with loads of added character to match the feel of the property.  

HK: Who is ‘the lost poet’? 

AT: Notting Hill is said to have had an artistic association since the end of 19 century, we feel it’s still very prominent. You can feel it in the area and we love it and think it is one of the things that makes it so special. We know how we arrived at the name but feel that just like with poetry sometimes it is best to leave these things open to interpretation…  

Main image credit: The Lost Poet

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: Meet the judges

Now that the free nominations/applications process is open for The Brit List Awards 2021, it’s time to meet this year’s judges. The 2021 panel consists of respected travel journalists and international experts in the design, architecture and hotel development arenas. The judges will gather to select the winners ahead of the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London…

The Brit List Awards judges 2021

Right on cue – and continuing tradition – the next step after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards is for us to announce this year’s judging panel.

This year, as well as continuing our firm relationship with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) by welcoming both the President and the Past-President as judges, we have also included an award-winning travel journalist and a cluster of respected hospitality and hotel design experts to join this year’s panel.

(Free to apply/nominate) To nominate/apply for The Brit List Awards 2021, click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2021 are:

Lindsey Rendall, President Elect, BIID

Image credit: Rendall & Wright

Lindsey Rendall is the soon-to-be President of the BIID. After graduating Lindsey Rendall worked for Designers Guild, the internationally renowned home furnishing brand before continuing her design career with Cameron Broom, based in south London. During her five years with the company, Rendall became principal designer and designed a wide range of projects including more than 90 domestic properties, five offices, three commissions for The Hurlingham Club and the complete renovation of 28 Portland Place, a beautiful historic building dating from 1775.

Rendall enthusiasm, attention to detail and ability to identify with her clients has ensured repeat business and many recommendations and referrals. In 2010 Lindsey was granted full membership of the British Institute of Interior Design. Lindsey joined forces with Helen to set up Interior Design practice Rendall & Wright in 2006. This dynamic duo, bring together design expertise and seamless project management, providing a personal and professional service.

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

Image credit: BIID

As a registered interior design with more than 30 years’ experience, Lester Bennett will be the Past President of the BIID during the judging process of The Brit List Awards 2021. Joining the panel for a second year, Bennett has covered many areas of design from running his own practice to being Design Director for the residential development company Westcity. He has built up a stunning portfolio of high profile residential developments both in the UK and overseas.

Lisa Grainger, Deputy and Tavel Editor, Times Luxx magazine

Image credit: Twitter (@LisaGrainger4)

Viewing this year’s entries from a different perspective over the likes of design and architecture professionals, Lisa Grainger is an award-winning travel journalist who has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. Grainger, who has become a well-known figure on the luxury travel scene and an influential voice which is amplified regularly in her authentic reviews, is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel.

Frank M. Pfaller, President, HoteliersGuild

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Image credit: Frank M. Pfaller

Frank M. Pfaller, the Founder and President of Hoteliers Guild joins the panel with his ‘no two people are alike’ attitude. Impressed by the accessibility of The Brit List Awards 2021, Pfaller believes that  while every property must meticulously reach and maintain highest standards of quality and personalised guest services, none should have to bear the dull stamp of conformity. HoteliersGuild was created with this mentality, and has become a private and independent society of active luxury hoteliers with the aim to connect the best of the hospitality community in a place that encourages the exchange of ideas and personal friendships.


Dereck & Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and owners, Great Plains

Image credit: Great Plains

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and are the founders of Great Plains, an authentic, unique and iconic leading tourism conservation organisation. The pair will capture this year’s entries through their unique lens to capture, hopefully, the hotel projects that push boundaries in architecture, design and hospitality. Great Plains consists of 16 prestigious owned and partner safari properties in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe – and offers exceptional safari experiences built around bespoke, caring, meaningful and considerate values.

Ngahuia Damerell, Senior Design Project Manager – Premium & Luxury Brands Design Solutions, Design & Technical Services, Accor

Image credit: Accor

Ngahuia Damerell, on the Board of Directors for the NEWH Paris Chapter, will join the panel to assist in the judging for the Rising Star Award, following Accor’s commitment to support young talent with the Accor Design Awards.

Damerell earned a bachelor’s degree in textile design with a focus on interior textiles from Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her professional journey has taken her to Sydney, London, New York and now, Paris, where she works as the Global Senior Design Project Manager for Accor’s Luxury & Premium brands, including Raffles, Sofitel, Pullman and Movenpick.

Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs

Editor Hamish Kilburn headshot

Image credit: Hotel Designs

Completing this year’s panel, Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, will return for a fourth consecutive year to act as head judge for The Brit List Awards.

In his role on the leading online publication, Kilburn sensitively narrates the industry’s development. As well as travelling the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, he has also interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. “The Brit List Awards has become a valuable tool for the industry to understand who the real leaders and visionaries are among us,” he said. “In our meaningful search, we are looking for people and brands going beyond what is conventional – and in the four years I have held this position, the industry has never disappointed in showing us projects that are, quite simply, incredible.”

Most recently, Kilburn become the host of DESIGN POD, a new podcast for the A&D community and was also part of the team who masterminded Hotel Designs LIVE, a series of virtual online conferences for designers, architects and hoteliers in order to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing. As a result, he has gained a detailed understanding as to what it takes to be at the forefront of the industry’s development and evolution.

So there you have it, your judges for The Brit List Awards 2021.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & click here. Suppliers, click here).

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Granorte Recolour - a room full of colour

Product watch: More colourful cork from Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: More colourful cork from Granorte

Recolour is a cork floor from Granorte that embraces the natural material’s aesthetic and adds colour to bring a fresh look. “The result is an authentic blend of materials and colours that will help to give contemporary spaces texture in their design schemes,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn…

Granorte Recolour - a room full of colour

Having followed the innovative products that have been developed under the Granorte brand for a while now, with each product launch – whether its the natural-looking Decodalle or the Japanese-inspired Tatami – I am completely blown away by the teams ability to produce meaningful products that lend themselves nicely to designers who think consciously when specifying. The launch of Recolour floor tiles from the brand is no exception!

Available in an extraordinary 28 colours, all possessing cork’s unique aesthetic, Recolour floor tiles add a natural look that’s out of the ordinary to commercial interiors. Each Recolour tile features bevels for defined edges that give a modern design floor feel and with cork’s unmistakable look and colours that can contribute to any commercial interior scheme, the floor offers designers something entirely different from their choice of flooring.

“Recolour brings cork’s unique aesthetic but appreciates that not every interior needs, or wants, a natural cork colour,” said Paulo Rocha, Product and R&D Manager at the brand. “With shades ranging from pearl and cream through to terracotta, forest and saffron, it’s a collection that lets designers embrace the natural and renewable credentials of cork, but still adhere to design practices that look to zone spaces through colour.”

The collection is available in two specifications – 4mm glue-down (Recolour Fix) and 10.5mm click installation – both finished with Wearplus® an easy-clean super-matt finish that is durable but that also highlights the natural status of the material. Providing a highly wear-resistant surface,

Recolour uses a 3mm cork veneer, HDF core with Uniclic® for fast and easy fitting and a 1.5mm cork insulating layer with Microban® built in. Purists will prefer the all-cork construction of the standard Recolour Fix that delivers the unmistakable decorative veneer and high-density agglomerated cork core.  Recolour Fix is supplied in 900 x 150mm tiles and Recolour in 1164 x 300mm format.

Granorte has been making cork products since 1972, when it was established to provide a use for the waste cork of wine stopper production. The family-owned Portuguese company uses the latest in production technology and focuses on R&D to deliver a unique range of products made from cork. From walls and floors to furniture and sanitary ware, the company is cork’s true innovator.

Granorte is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Granorte

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Located in the North Malé Atoll, in the Maldives, Kuda Villingili is preparing its international entrance with what we are told an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options – including a take on the famous Singaporean Hawkers street food market – an idyllic beachfront spa, and world-class facilities for those with a penchant for an adrenaline rush. As demand for hotel development in the region soars, let’s take a look…

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.


The diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings. With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean. Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.

A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers. And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.

Over in the spa

Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by VOYA, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness. Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke & table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.

The hotel opens on June 6. As the Maldives continues to be on the ‘amber list’ for UK travellers, the opening has given modern travellers something to look forward to when non-restricted travel opens once more.

Main image: Kuda Villingili


In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

760 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House

Having just unveiled The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand that is said to ‘revolutionise hospitality’, Naomi Heaton’s two new hotels that are planned to open in the next few years are expected to make unapologetic and bold statements on the hotel scene in London. But what else has Heaton got planned? Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the visionary herself to find out more…


In a place like London, where quintessentially British tradition seems (on the surface, at least) to take precedence, anything new and disruptive to what convention on the hospitality scene needs to arrive fully packed with substance if it is to survive, let alone thrive. For Naomi Heaton and her team, there was no other place in the world to set the scene of a new brand that has been brewing for what, I am told, has been seven years in the making.

Heaton, who recently joined me in a panel discussion at Hotel Designs LIVE to debate the topic of a new era of lifestyle, is now ready to share the details of her new brand, which is expected to “blur the lines” that pre-exist in hospitality, in order to instead create a cutting-edge type of new accommodation. The Other House – ‘your home for as long as you’re in town’ – will disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, effortlessly and elegantly combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay.

The plot thickens, as Heaton and her team recently shared that The Other House will launch with the bold opening of two hotels that will be sheltered in two very different but equally majestic buildings in London – one in Kensington (opening in 2022) and other in Covent Garden (opening in 2023).

“Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

To understand more about how The Other House was born, and what we can expect next, I caught up with Heaton…

Hamish Kilburn: We love the new branding – can you tell us a bit more about the creative journey to finalise the name?

Naomi Heaton: We have been on an amazing journey which started many years ago when we first recognised the need for a whole new approach to hospitality. This all started to become a reality when we teamed up with our joint venture partners APG, the Dutch pension provider and acquired our first asset in South Kensington in December 2019. One of our early appointments was the award-winning branding agency Design Studio who we had enormous fun with, working out exactly who our target audience was, what their aspirations and convictions are and the kind of environment they wanted to live in.

The core plank was to provide a sense of place that was in tune with our guests needs coupled with an ability for them to access hotel style services 24/7 but only as and when they wanted. We came up with literally hundreds of possible names but the answer was very simple. Our aim was to create a second home for our residents for as long as they were in town – quite simply to be their other house. It was just a short step from there to arrive at the The Other House!

Image caption: The exterior image of the Wellington property, which will shelter The Other House's Covent Garden hospitality offering.

Image caption: Prime location. The Wellington property, located in Covent Garden, will shelter The Other House’s second hotel, expected to open in 2023.

HK: Covent Garden and South Kensington shelter very different vibes. Why did you choose these locations for the first two properties?

NH: As a company we have always specialised in central London generally acquiring assets which are in need of refurbishment and reorganisation. This way we can create exactly what we want as well as minimising the environmental impact.  We also love the heritage architecture and the relative scarcity of such buildings. It is probably a harder task than building new but the end result is something unique with embedded history.

Central London is made up of many ‘villages’ with distinct personalities and as you say vibes. They are all convenient but different people want to be in different locations and have different requirements. Covent Garden and South Kensington are poles apart but equally attractive and exciting and we have managed to acquire beautiful properties in both locations. Our intention is now to fill in the ‘gaps’ between them in equally exciting places such as Mayfair, Sloane Square, Notting Hill and Marylebone. We are always on the lookout for opportunities but have set a high bar.

“We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective.” – Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House.

HK: You recently joined our panel on ‘the new era of lifestyle’ at Hotel Designs LIVE. How does The Other House open the door for a new era of lifestyle?

NH: The Other House aims to disrupt the traditional sectors of hotels, serviced apartments and private rentals, combining home comforts with hotel style facilities, whatever the length of stay – from a day to a year (or even longer).

We recognised that the needs of travellers in these sectors are merging. Our background is private rentals (the PRS). We could see they were all looking for a real sense of place and space that this sector provides combined with the services offered by traditional hotels but only as and when they want them.  Technology will play an important role in delivering this but making a positive social and environmental impact and ensuring health and wellbeing will be at the core of the offer as well.

We have approached The Other House through a residential lens rather than a conventional hotel perspective. The brand will be a ‘second home’ for its guests – their other house – and they can live like a resident, for as long as they are in town. As a new hospitality concept, we are creating a new sector of Residents Clubs.

It will be a club of likeminded people who know what they want, seeking style, positive social impact and experiences to remember, without a hefty price tag. One of our principal design requirements is to provide micro apartments throughout – club flats not bedrooms – and private areas for residents to enjoy a quiet glass of whisky or relax in their favourite chair – as well as public destination areas. It is a club which is inclusive, that everyone is a member of, for as long as they are staying.

Our guests also want to be in control of their stay and limit touch points. The brand connects guests with on-demand services through an exciting bespoke tech platform and App from the moment they book and check in to when they check out and pay.

HK: How important is tech in this new era and how will The Other House properties use it meaningfully?

NH: Extremely important. In many ways the pandemic has served to accelerate the move towards technology that was happening anyway, albeit at a slower pace. Guests are increasingly seeking to be in control through technology with a seamless journey from booking, checking in to managing their stay with limited touch points and human interaction.

Our bespoke app which is in development will enable guests to manage their entire stay and experience, from booking, checking in, room entry, room cleaning, laundry, messaging, booking and paying at any of our restaurants, bars and other amenities.

The good use of technology will enable many of the mundane interactions to be kept to a minimum. This means however that the human touch has to be much more nuanced and sensitive, recognising guests are independent and discerning rather than just visitors or tourists. We are giving residents the tools and the space to  organise and manage life their way.

Tech is important too in expanding the sense of community far beyond the stay itself, by creating a platform which shares common interests, news and views about what is going on at the Other House and beyond, so people can always feel like a local.

HK: Can you give us an indication on the interior design schemes for both properties?

NH: Design studio Bergman Interiors, winners of course of your eponymous The Brit List Awards 2020, have been appointed and will showcase the best in British design at both properties. Bergman is creating iconic designs cleverly combining a sense of home with stand-out exciting spaces in our club flats and in the public and private residents’ areas. There will be bold interiors, with a contemporary twist and rich colours and textures combined with carefully designed lighting. Spaces will be original but relaxing and individual.

Image caption: The property that started it all. This building, Harrington Hall, will shelter The Other House’s debut hospitality offering, and is slated to open in Spring of 2022.

HK: What will The Other House offer that isn’t already available in lifestyle hospitality? 

NH: The residents’ clubs will combine the strengths of hotel offerings with the sense of place and place-making residents get from the private rented sector. It is a far more embracing offering than serviced apartments, hotels or the private rental sector as they exist today.

As well as an entirely new concept, where you can stay for as long as you want, there will be seamless technology through our bespoke app, which means guests are in control, an integral part of the new way of living we have all adopted.

The Other House takes a sustainable approach to renovating existing buildings and is committed to making a positive impact on the community, our employees and the environment. Our residents will be a part of our environmental journey so they can make a measurable personal difference.  There will be a focus on health and wellbeing at all the guest touchpoints and we will be using, for example,  recyclable packaging, healthy, sustainably produced food and British made furniture.

HK: Where are you in the design stage at the moment?

NH: We have had a fantastic journey with architects Falconer Chester Hall and Bergman Interiors creating exactly the right product for our guests. It has been a real period of learning as we rethink the use and look of the space to complement our offering.  Works in the South Kensington property are well underway – having been completely stripped out behind the historic façade and the reconfiguration now taking place, with a planned opening late Q1 2022.

The Wellington block, an island site close to Covent Garden’s famous piazza is now fully designed architecturally and at planning stage. We have started working on the interior design concepts for all the spaces, inspired by Covent Garden’s rich and vibrant history. We intend to start work towards the end of 2021, opening in 2023. The story will of course continue with further acquisitions in central London and then internationally. Watch this space!

Main image credit: The Other House

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Portugal’s finest, London unveils & going Gaga for DESIGN POD

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, rounding off your week with a throwback to the hottest stories published over the last few days. In this edition of the Weekly Briefing, we amplify Portugal’s best design-led hotels, go Gaga for episode 4 of DESIGN POD, tease you with the latest London unveils and share the full recording of our panel discussion on ‘a new era of lifestyle’ that was filmed at Hotel Designs LIVE. Enjoy…

Weekly round-up of the latest stories on Hotel Designs

What a week – we’ve product news from the likes of hansgrohe, Ideal Standard, Atlas Concorde and Bette as well as keeping our ears to the ground on the latest news in the hotel development arena. In addition, we dropped episode 4 of DESIGN POD which welcomes Jack Irving as our special guest. In fact, why not read this round-up while listening to that episode, to here myself and Irving discuss fashion highlights, collaboration goals with Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and The Spice Girls and the result of his debut interior design project.

Here are your top stories of the week: 

“Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.” What we know about Mondrian Shoreditch

Mondrian Shoreditch Bar view_Daytime - Credit_ Goddard Littlefair (1) copy

Image caption: A render of the bar sheltered inside Mondrian Shoreditch London. | Image credit: Goddard Littlefair/FRAMED Visualisation

Considering the building’s reputation for sheltering a vibrant, modern and contemporary hospitality space, the pressure was on for interior design firm Goddard Littelfair when they were asked by Accor to completely redesign the hotel for when it reopened as the Mondrian Shoreditch. But as always, following the deep design narrative that was unveiled in their latest project, The Mayfair Townhouse, the design firm has delivered and we are excited to share with you our sneak peek inside what we are calling Shoreditch’s hottest unveil of 2021.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: A new era of lifestyle

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles; Naomi Heaton, CEO, The Other House and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg for a panel discussion entitled: A new era of lifestyle.

Read more.

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

Read more.

An expert’s guide on the science of a good nights’ sleep

A modern and minimalist room

Image credit: Silentnight Group

With 75 per cent of Brits admitting to not having a good nights’ sleep and 30 per cent of people rating their sleep as “bad”, chances are you know what a bad nights’ sleep feels like. We’ve all had one, and most of us will have had at least one nights’ bad sleep in a hotel, but why? Sleep experts from Silentnight Group Hospitality, Hannah Shore and Angela Moran, explores your ultimate sleep guide.

Read more.

Miniview: Inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah – now open!

Contemporary lobby inside The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

Image credit: Jumeirah Group

We have waited an agonising 18 months, but we can finally celebrate the opening of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, a masterpiece the international design studio 1508 London that has allowed what was a tired and worn down hotel to prosper in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood. We have been following the story since day dot.

Read more.

And finally… the best design hotels to visit in Portugal

Rooftop bar in Portugal

Image credit: Lumiares, Lisbon

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – Hotel Designs shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new level of wellness: The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Designed by Jouin Manku with the aim to shelter an elevated sense of wellbeing and luxury, The Spa at 45 Park Lane has opened and features the longest pool (20 metres) on Park Lane. Editor Hamish Kilburn has the story…

The swimming pool at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Park Lane has long been regarded London’s ultimate address for unparalleled luxury. Among the quintessentially British hotels that sit on the fridge of Hyde Park, The Dorchester, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, is arguably the most famous, with its classic English residential design stylishly seeing it through many decades. The 250-key hotel may be London’s ‘Mother’ of hospitality, but it is the younger sibling in the Dorchester Collection portfolio, which incidentally is situated just a few doors down from The Dorchester, that has raised eyebrows recently on the hotel design scene.

45 Park Lane, which opened 10 years ago, radiates a different kind of style to that of its older family member. Throughout the intimate-sized hotel, luxurious and contemporary interiors by New York based designer, Thierry Despont, provide a club-like feel offering all guests – international and locals alike –  a smart, central environment from which to enjoy London.

Leaping into a new era, the hotel has launched The Spa at 45 Park Lane as part of guests’ hotel experience. And unlike other London hotels that’s spas are the size of oversized shoeboxes, the new wellness facility inside the 45-key boutique hotel is, by all accounts, expansive compared to some of its London neighbours. The 10,000 sq. ft. spa features Park Lane’s longest pool at 20 metres, as well as a personal training room and spacious state-of-the-art gym.

“The wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in.”

Image of the pool and relaxation area at The Spa at 45 Park Lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

The wellness space is part of Mayfair Park Residences, the recently completed development delivered by ultra-prime developers Clivedale London located next door to, and serviced by, 45 Park Lane. Guests of the hotel have full use of the facilities as part of their stay experience, which include separate sauna and steam rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and private changing and shower rooms.

Designed by Jouin Manku, the wellness space has been specifically created to bring a sense of the outside in, referencing artistic flora using traditional Roman style mosaics from Venetian artisans. Taking design cues from the rest of the hotel, natural timbers and light coloured stone bring a sense of calm and tranquillity; while timber slatted ceilings have been integrated to create better acoustics within the pool, gym and relaxation lounge. The entire space has been generously arranged to maximise the sense of spaciousness.

Timber changing room at The Spa at 45 Park lane

Image credit: Dorchester Collection

With the hotel’s strong tie to the world of art that goes beyond its four walls, 45 Park Lane’s art curator Lily Ackerman has selected works by American fine art photographer Jin-Woo Prensena and British sculptor Jill Berelowitz to adorn the space.

The relaxation lounge connected to the pool allows guests to unwind before or after a work-out, spa treatment or swim. Within the lounge is an open fireplace with a menu of healthy dishes by 45 Park Lane’s Executive Chef Jamie Shears.

Tailored personal training programmes can be created for guests, with both one-to-one and family group sessions available to book in advance. The expansive gym features the latest Technogym equipment with dedicated ‘cardiovascular’ and ‘strength’ areas.

John Scanlon, General Manager of 45 Park Lane who was recently profiled in The Brit List, comments: “For almost a decade, 45 Park Lane has stood amongst the best hotels in London. As we look towards our next chapter we are thrilled to be introducing luxury wellness into the guest experience to create one of the finest spa facilities in the capital.”

Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection, adds: “Marking our first venture into private residences, the completion of Mayfair Park Residences is a pivotal moment in our company’s history. Our heritage focuses on the best of design in prime locations, making Clivedale London a natural partner with shared values. These new residences will benefit from the services of  The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, while the proximity of Park Lane and Hyde Park further elevate the location to one of the best real-estate sites in the world. We look forward to offering Dorchester Collection’s treasured way of life to the new residents.”

With the addition of the hotel’s new spa and wellness facilities, 45 Park Lane continues to stand as a vibrant, luxurious and welcoming ‘club-like’ hotel that is the London home of an international crowd.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Best design hotels to visit in Portugal

With Portugal being on the ‘green list’ when it comes to travel from the UK – for now, at least – editor Hamish Kilburn shares some hotel gems, from Lisbon to Porto and everything in between, that you may or may not be familiar of… 

The floodgates into Portugal have opened (kind of). International travel is no longer a wanderlust dream and we are able to unlock hotel design wonders, in person, once more.

Pool and outdoor terrace overlooking Portugal's River Douro

With few countries on the ‘green list’ considered ‘travel hotspots’, Portugal is among the few places UK travellers are allowed to visit to without having to isolate upon their return – it’s also, without question, the most popular place to visit since travel restrictions were slightly lifted.

To mark this moment as a small celebration, we thought we would share with you a handful of our favourite hotels in Portugal, from boutique boltholes in Lisbon to something new in the Algarve, and not forgetting the one-off travel experiences in other towns and cities in between.

Six Senses Douro Valley

From its postcard-perfect setting in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Douro Valley, to the elegant and innovative decor within, Six Senses Douro Valley has a lot of untamed charm. Surrounded by ancient vineyards (this area of Portugal is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world), the hotel’s contemporary personality is camouflaged by its location. From the beautiful chandeliers made of wine bottles to the unique Wine Library & Terrace; this is the place to sample some of the world’s most rare and entrancing vintages. Throughout all guestrooms, suites and villas decor is chic and modern with large windows to take in the most of the spectacular views on every side. This contemporary elegance continues throughout the hotel, which has a unique character and feel.

As you’d expect from a Six Sense property, the spa is a statement feature, which includes an expansive indoor pool and 10 treatment rooms.

Throughout the hotel, the decor is chic and modern and there is an emphasis on sustainable luxury. Innovative use of cork flooring and beautiful chandeliers made from wine bottles lend a sense of place, whilst also ‘upcycling’ in an environmentally conscious style. This attention to detail characterises what is a truly special Portuguese hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

A smart and well-designed room inside Four Season Ritz Lisbon

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon has recently unveiled a new renovation to its guestrooms, suite, as well as unveiling a new outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor bar and terrace. Portuguese architecture studio OITOEMPONTO was appointed in 2019 to breathe new life into the guest rooms and suites at the iconic Hotel. Design duo Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec were reticent to ‘modernise’ the classic Hotel, so set about re-imagining the past for the present, to evolve the Hotel’s roots in style, aesthetics and ambience. 

The room and suite redesign follows the launch of new restaurant CURA (opened September 2020), where Chef and head culinary curator Pedro Pena Bastos meticulously selects ingredients, drawing from Lisbon’s rich regional palette to create seasonal, artisanal dishes such as squid with hazelnut, bergamot, roasted seaweed butter and Ossetra caviar. 

Pestana Palácio do Freixo

The last time I visited Pestana Palácio do Freixo was in 2014, and I bet since then nothing has changed – at least I hope that’s the case. Located just 3 km west from Porto’s city centre, the Palácio do Freixo, classified in 1910 as a National Monument, is a unique example of Baroque architecture, with about 10,000 square metres of gardens and green spaces offering breathtaking views of the River Douro.

The setting of a stunning example of an Urban Resort, it is a member of the exclusive consortium The Leading Hotels of the World and provides guests with an unparalleled experience that marries traditional values with contemporary comfort. The Pestana Palácio do Freixo is characterised by its sumptuous eighteenth century architecture. It was built by Nicolau Nasoni, one of the most important architects that helped Porto become a World Heritage Site.

Lumiares, Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon is a five-star boutique bombshell, where the style is personal, not “corporate”, relaxed not “stuffy”, gives an authentic nod to Lisbon’s colour, culture and patterns.

The fully renovated hotel, which is housed in a former XVII century Palace in the heart of the city, has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travellers who want to feel at home when away from home.

The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘the best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500m from the hotel, which transcends a new take on ‘living like a local’.

The starting place for design and artwork within the 47-key hotel was the location. Perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto, the hotel is situated in a Lisbon quarter home to a bohemian mish-mash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones.

Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Douro41 Hotel & Spa, which has just been accepted into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners, is located on the bank of the Douro River, and as such frames unparalleled views of the natural landscape. With 61 rooms and suites, the hotel that underwent renovations between 2018 to 2019 features modern, minimalist lines, while celebrating the comfort and elegance of a true luxury property.

The location and the architectural characteristics of the building enhance the connection to the surrounding landscape and the sense of an escape from reality: built in schist and glass on a terraced hillside stretching down almost to the water’s edge, the Douro41 had, at the heart of its foundation, various environmental concerns and the desire that the hotel should be coherent with its surroundings.

The hotel’s design is simple and it’s clear that human construction is unobtrusive, merging harmoniously with the river and the mountains surrounding it – a prime example of this are the two outdoor swimming pools, both infinite, where guests almost feel part of the landscape.

W Algarve 

Guestroom concept inside W Algarve

W Algarve, which is expected to arrive onto the European hotel design scene this summer is the first resort commission for design studio AB Concept outside of Asia which has been working closely with Divercity Architects to introduce something new to the Portugal’s bustling Algarve.

The new lifestyle hotel shelters 134 guestrooms and 83 residences – ranging from one-bedroom apartments to a four-bedroom penthouse. Ab Concept, led by Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, has taken the region’s rugged coastlines, green meadows and vineyards as inspiration for the interior design scheme, using sandy neutrals, greens and blues throughout the hotel.

“We worked closely with landscape designers Scape and interior designers AB Concept to develop a strong narrative theme and eye-catching aesthetics for the resort,” Divercity Archtiects explains on its website. “Exploring the local landscape, culture, and cuisine, we identified the arch as a common thread, evident in the Algarve’s sea caves, the arcades and archways of traditional Portuguese architecture, and the fish scales in the fishing communities along this dramatic coastline.”

The new W resort on the Algarve coast is tipped to become Portugal’s new ‘it’ destination – watch this space, Portugal!

Main image credit: Douro41 Hotel & Spa

Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: Tomorrow’s themes in hotel design and hospitality

In his latest editor’s letter, Hamish Kilburn addresses the four S words that will help us when exploring and understand tomorrow’s hotel design and hospitality landscape – and in the process, he unexpectedly comes up with the themes that will be put under the spotlight in four engaging panel discussions at Hotel Designs LIVE

As I write this, I am on a train for the first time this year. It’s May. The sun is struggling to flex through the clouds and, to be honest with you, I would rather be working from home. My mandatory mask is fogging up my glasses, so what I am thinking and what is appearing on the screen could be two completely separate things entirely.

I’m on my way into London, having just pressed the green light to launch The Brit List Awards 2021 application process. I’m heading to Shoreditch, home of some rather interesting hotel development projects, to record our next episode of DESIGN POD – it’s a big moment for the brand as it’s the first time we are recording the podcast in person as opposed to over Zoom with a struggling Wifi connection.

“If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands.”

We could have waited until now to launch our podcast but I feel it would have taken an entirely different lane if we did. There was something organic and exciting about launching a new brand in the middle of a pandemic – while we were all locked up in our houses and the idea-generating process was incubated.

Since you’re here, why not read the rest of this article while listening to our latest episode of DESIGN POD, which welcomes designer Jack Irving as our special guest?

We can look at the current situations in both positive and negative ways. Yes, it has been frustrating not boarding a plane to actually review the projects we have followed for years. But it didn’t stop us. In this time, we utilised our contacts around the world and still reviewed hotels in person. If anything, we gained access into new studios and made new long-lasting relationships with brands. Our viewpoint over the industry became more meaningful and by zooming out (see what I did there) we are able to establish which topics are the most impactful.

Following now four successful Hotel Designs LIVE virtual conferences, it brings me great delight to share with you our next four topics that we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE in August.

These themes are:

  • Senses
  • Surfaces
  • Sleep
  • Social


Following our successful session at Hotel Designs LIVE (in February) on sound’s role in hotel design and after reading a mountain of press releases recently that all reference sound, touch and even smell to evoke a deeper meaning of wellness and wellbeing, it feels fitting to position the editorial spotlight on the sensory experience for our next event. It also comes as the industry, albeit slowly, is starting to reopen and reconnect.


For those of you who have joined us on this journey, you will know that we have already hosting a panel discussion on sleep performance at our inaugural event. But we feel as if, given the role of sleep in any hotel experience, we have only just scratched the surface of this topic. With new innovations and technology taking bold leaps as each day passes, we will explore the science behind getting the best nights’ sleep.


More than ever, as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, surfaces have come under question in the debate around hygiene. But, in our exclusive panel discussion, we will go beyond the clinical to explore interesting and vibrant surfaces that we hope will give all areas of the hotel more personality and meaning.


It took a while and a few thesaurus searches before we eventually found our fourth and final panel discussion title. Following several failed brainstorm attempts, an email pinged into my inbox from our publisher Katy Phillips with the subject line ‘found it’. The email was just one word, ‘Social’. With all the noise around ‘social distancing’ and regulations against human interaction, we and many of the industry’s leaders believe that tomorrow’s hotel scene will be a celebration of human connection. While we are at the T-junction on the road out of Covid-19 lockdowns, we will invite world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to understand challenges and considerations to bear in mind as we move to open the doors of hospitality, to be social, once more.

Like many of the decisions we make on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, we have found that these sessions work not only as individual sessions but also as a cluster of talking points – with sessions on senses, sleep, surfaces and social – that together really challenge conventional thoughts around hospitality and will, we hope, clearly define once more the definition of international hotel design.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

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Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

SMD Textiles/ILIV is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: ILIV

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte


Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

The hallmark of the Cape Cod smaller bathroom program is the perfect fusion of material and form to satisfy even the highest aesthetic standards, including those from designer Philippe Starck…


The untamed nature of New England’s Cape Cod region inspired Philippe Starck to create a bathroom range composed of elements that rejuvenate body and soul.

The elegant bathroom opens up a whole host of design options, especially for smaller bathrooms. With its innovative design for the washing area, Starck creates sheer elegance and a generous sense of space that exudes an inviting calmness. The combination of a 70cm-wide, gleaming white ceramic furniture washbasin with a floor standing chrome frame and integrated shelf in White High Gloss introduces a brand-new look to the bathroom.

Practical, easy-clean shelf areas adjoin the circular basin on the left and right. Minimalistic mirrors with all-round LED lighting add the perfect finishing touch to the washing area.

Another new element is a smaller version of the striking, freestanding bathtub in space-saving dimensions of 165 x 78cm. Like the larger variants,it is also made from the tried-and-tested, high- quality DuraSolid material, is pleasantly warm to the touch, and has a sophisticated matt appearance. A smoothly shaped headrest set into the backrest guarantees relaxed comfort when reclining and bathing.

The series can be combined with Starck T accessories and selected toilets and bidets from the Starck 1, Starck 2, and ME by Starck ranges for a thoroughly stylish and harmonious look. The SensoWash Starck f shower toilet offers maximum hygiene and comfort. This symbiosis of toilet and bidet provides gentle, natural cleansing with water.

Duravit is one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Duravit

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image credit: Soho House

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a panel discussion with leading designers and architects entitled: Floor 20, room 31, which virtually checked in to the hotel experience 10 years from now…

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

On February 23, 2021, Hotel Designs‘ editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host the third instalment of Hotel Designs LIVE, which launched last year with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

  • Floor 20, room 31, checking in 10 years from now
  • Sustainability, beneath the surface
  • Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design
  • A new era of wellness

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place while adhering to the current lockdown regulations and kickstarted with an editor’s welcome from Kilburn who explained the need for the virtual event. “The industry’s new swear word, Covid-19, has temporarily brought hospitality and tourism to its knees, but in these challenging times we have seen the real power of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers all working together to invent and implement meaningful solutions,” he said. “Hotel Designs LIVE was born in those confusing times, and our aim is simple: to create conversations unlike any other and keep the industry connected.”

The first session of the day, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, was designed to look ahead towards what hospitality and hotel design will look and feel like one decade on from today, and was curated to confront recent cultural shifts that have smudged the sketches, so to speak, as to what the hotel of the future will look like.

On the panel: 

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel how accurate previous predictions were regarding the ‘hotel room of the future’. It was concluded that the word ‘experience’, in all sectors of hotel design, was used 10 years ago in order to meet the then new demand among modern travellers who were expecting a deeper and more purposefully driven hospitality journey. Related to this, a new era of luxury lifestyle brands started to emerge to blur the lines in luxury travel, which, following the most testing year the hospitality arena has experienced in modern times, takes us to where we are now.

When the conversation turned to technology, interior designer Martin Goddard led the discussion to argue that moving forward, he expects modern travellers will be burnt out by technology and hotel design in many areas will encourage human connection once more as well as injecting meaningful sense of location, which was evident in Hotel Designs’ recent hotel review of The Mayfair Townhouse, which Goddard Littlefair recently completed steering clear to reference obvious clichés in the design. “One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received from that hotel is that it always felt like a cosy winter’s day,” Goddard said.

Interior designer Albin Burglund was able to offer a unique perspective when it came to predicting the future of hotel design from both a luxury design as well as a wellness perspective. “I agree with Martin that the industry will be cautious to inject technology,” he explained, “and this will largely follow consumers putting more of a focus on their own personal wellness and wellbeing.”

Chris Lee injected qualitative research into the discussion following a campaign he and his team completed last year for Sleep & Eat, which involved collaboration with Chalk ArchitectureHotel Hussy and students from the University of West London, presenting an interactive render for a ‘2035 guestroom of the future’ based on the groups prestigious upscale Wyndham brand. As well as the project “capturing the imagination” of the modern traveller, the guestroom design and layout challenged conventional hotel rooms – and despite the focus being largely on the ‘Gen-Z traveller’, the product was actually carefully designed for all generations as it allowed guests to select their own scene settings to reflect their mood or preferred environment. Following research into understanding the DNA of the hotel guestroom experience, technology had to be seamlessly blended in to the design scheme.

The discussion soon veered towards Covid-19 and specifically the pandemic’s impact on future design and hospitality. Rob Steul, with more than 20 years’ experience in architecture and design, used the upcoming luxury hotel in Leicester Square, The Londoner, as a prime example of how the industry’s already high standards put hospitality design in good stead for when hospitality and travel returns in the post-pandemic world. “Long before Covid-19, we had already considered elements such as air flow,” he explained. Burglund agreed while also questioning the short-term purposes of event spaces and questioned how these could be utilised and used during what has no-doubt been a testing time for hospitality worldwide.

Here’s a highlights video of the panel discussion, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Chelsom, PENT Fitness, Blueair and Yeames Hospitality.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Sustainability, beneath the surface’; ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Bringing colour to bathroom design with RAK-Feeling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bringing colour to bathroom design with RAK-Feeling

To kickstart our editorial series putting bathrooms under the spotlight, we hear from RAK Ceramics how personality, warmth and character can be injected into the bathroom by simply introducing colour…

For a long time, the focus for sanitaryware has been starkly white, but things are changing. While we remain a long way from the avocado greens, electric blues and candy pinks of the 1980s, wall-to-wall white and chrome bathrooms are also seeing a change-up, with a return to colour. Soft pastels and muted shades are increasingly being seen on sanitaryware.

A pastel designed bathroom

image credit: RAK Ceramics

Less clinical than an all-white bathroom, these pops of colour can be scaled up or down to meet individual requirements. It is not necessary, for example, to choose an entire suite of sanitaryware in a single colourway; a washbasin bowl in cappuccino can add colour and visual interest to a bathroom while being enhanced by more traditional white pieces elsewhere, an idea that works particularly well in smaller spaces.


Coloured sanitaryware also works in harmony with brassware finishes other than chrome, giving designers greater choice and creative freedom. Colour doesn’t need to mean bold and bright and in this instance the trend takes a far subtler approach, with nature-inspired tones that serve to add character while creating a relaxed and tranquil vibe.

Using black is a popular way of adding a sense of drama to the bathroom, for example. This is a stylish and sophisticated colour palette that is very easy to match with other shades, going darker in large spaces and lighter in compact settings. A black basin can easily be combined with matt black brassware for the basin bath and shower, for instance, for a co-ordinated look that is far from overbearing.

RAK Ceramics is the first manufacturer in the UK to launch colour into its portfolio with intent, with the introduction of RAK-Feeling; a complete collection of shower trays, enclosures and valves, washbasins, brassware, WCs and bidet, made with innovative materials and available in a range of colours.

Alongside Matt White, the range is also available in Matt Greige, Matt Cappuccino, Matt Grey and Matt Black.

RAK-Feeling countertop wash basins with slim edges will enhance any modern bathroom and are finished with an exclusive matt glaze, matching exactly with RAK-Feeling shower trays. Designed to create a spa-like finish with elegant and contemporary lines the flush-to-the-floor shower trays are made of RAKSOLID, a durable material composed of a mixture of natural minerals and resins, with an anti-slip smooth finish.

Since you’re here, why not read more about RAK Ceramic’s RAK-Saint?

The perfectly colour matched WCs and bidet and beautiful brassware offer the perfect final touch. RAK-Feeling is where quality and harmony merge with functionality to create a bathroom of the utmost comfort, in colour.

RAK Ceramics is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: RAK Ceramics

Image of Steve ESDAILE

5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

With an ever-evolving, burning demand among modern travellers to check into spaces that ooze personality, design and art work in tandem, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews interior designer Steve Esdaile when establishing art’s role in tomorrow’s hotel design…

Image of Steve ESDAILE

Esdaile Design is rapidly making a name for itself with interiors featuring bespoke art commissions at the heart of the designs. These stunning focal points that always provide an element of surprise are something of a signature of founder Steve Esdaile. From private residences and hotels to commercial and retail spaces, Esdaile is keen to add what he simply calls an element of personality.

These artworks wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery, so what inspired Steve to incorporate them into his designs? We took five minutes of his time to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: You’re a designer by trade but where did your interest in bespoke art commissions start?

Steve Esdaile: As an art and design graduate, I’ve always loved making things and really love the environment of an artisan workshop. This has extended into my design work where I enjoy bringing to life original and previously unrealised pieces of work. Given my interest in skilled art and craft, when I’m employed to present ‘standard’ products, I look to artists and craftspeople to add an element of ‘bespoke’ to the settings.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

HK: Where do the ideas come from and how do you find craftspeople to work with?

SE: The ideas for projects are usually client-led initially. I’ll try and provoke a train of thought in the brief process – which could be an interest, reference point or emotion that the client would like to realise in the commission. And the craftspeople we work with tend to come via a recommendation from my existing contacts. Obviously, the internet can yield a broad scope of ideas and potential, but narrowing the field takes time and experience, and knowing what questions to ask is critical. My background in workshop manufacture is invaluable, as I understand the information a craftsperson requires. The best results tend to come from asking someone to do what they do best.

Image caption: Bedroom of a master suite in a Thames-side property. The monochrome hand-painted wallpaper in the bedroom was commissioned directly from the studio of a Chinese artist, and brings an exotic depth of field to the space.

HK: Can you give us as an idea of the range of materials and techniques you’ve incorporated into your designs?

SE: Within one Thames-side residence, I incorporated no fewer than five bespoke art pieces. For example, in the master bedroom, I commissioned a monochrome hand-painted wallpaper directly from the studio of a Chinese artist. The design brought an exotic depth of field to the space. Then in the ensuite, a Crinoid sea-lily fossil plaque from the Lower Jurassic Period in the shower enclosure and a bespoke mosaic floor panel with fish motif add decoration that reflects and celebrates the riverside location.

HK: And any favourites among those projects?

SE: In the study library of that same project, we commissioned a 5 x 2m stone relief that forms a backdrop to the external lightwell. It depicts the battle between Rama and Ravana, from the Ramanyana and was hand-crafted by a Cambodian carver. My favourite aspect of the project is the sheer beauty of the carving as a backdrop to the interior space. Every time I revisit the property, I’m struck by the fact that I have to stop and take it in for a moment. It makes me appreciate all the individuals who were involved and the relationships that developed within the process. I love the fact that the end result is unique and somewhat unexpected in the environment. Though if you ask me again tomorrow, I may have a different answer – my current project is always my favourite!

HK: What added extra do you think art commissions bring to hotel and commercial spaces?

SE: Without doubt it adds both personality and charm to a space. In a small, boutique hotel, a commissioned piece is a great way to chime with the personality no doubt already on display. But it can also give the different hotels of a corporate brand an element of personality and individuality. After all, each piece is unique so can’t be replicated from one location to the next. In that way, a bespoke art commission can also really add a sense of place. 

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

HK: Are there any additional points to consider when creating artworks for commercial spaces that will inevitably have higher traffic than residential interiors?

SE: Yes, the work needs to have more impact visually to stand out in a public space. So, for example, stronger contrasts in the work mean a more impactful piece that will gain the attention it deserves. And, of course, in practical terms we need to choose materials that won’t wear or deteriorate with continual touch or use. Particularly as they’ll be subject to continual cleaning – they need to withstand whatever is thrown at them.

By contrast, in a residential setting, the owner will live with that piece for many years, so the subtleties and detail need to go deeper to be appreciated for longer. Also, the owner intrinsically knows the story the artwork is telling – in a commercial setting, the story needs to tell itself.

HK: What are you working on now – and what’s next?

SE: I’m currently working on a stunning bespoke Zellige mosaic from Morocco, orientated around a 48-point star design, widely considered the queen of traditional mosaic work. I particularly enjoy the geometry, and how the simple lines and coloured polygons knit together to make such a rich and complex visual tapestry. I’ve also recently been pursuing an interest in traditional Japanese Hakone marquetry, and looking at ways of applying this within more contemporary applications. I’m always looking to future, though, and I suppose the dream next project would be to create something that I had no idea was possible!

Main image credit: Esdaile Design

A modern interior design of a kitchen

How surface design can elevate guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How surface design can elevate guest experience

With public healthcare in the spotlight like never before, the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging hoteliers to rethink the entire guest experience. Here we hear from Harris Jackson on the role of surface design…

A modern interior design of a kitchen

From bringing the outside in to focusing on building a sense of community, wellness is high on the agenda for many brands as they look for new ways to connect with their customers and rebuild trust. And for good reason – according to a variety of data, consumer trust is at an all-time low.

Last year a study by End of Tenancy Cleaning Company, which surveyed almost 2,000 British travellers, found that 50 per cent of people do not trust hotel hygiene and over a third would avoid international travel for the next 12 months. Almost half of the people surveyed also said they would clean a hotel room themselves before using it. Research like this demonstrates the lack of confidence guests currently have and just how important safety and security is as a key message.

There are many ways hoteliers can respond to this and instil a sense of trust far beyond placing hand sanitisers in lobbies and installing perspex screens in the reception area. One way to elevate the customer experience and improve health and safety is through the design of surfaces.

Form and function

Beautiful design is about more than aesthetics, it’s about responding to customer needs and the current climate. There are a number of surface trends to look out for in 2021 (and beyond) that explore both form and function; sustainability, ventilation, flexibility and connecting to nature are all taking centre stage alongside technology that can improve public health.

Wellbeing is at the top of the agenda when it comes to design and we have seen this impact design trends before. In 1918, influenza impacted design by throwing more emphasis on light and air, and more minimal interiors (with heavier more cluttered interiors thought to be unhygienic). And now due to Covid-19 we are going to see another shift. It’s long been known that the surfaces we interact with can be transmitters for bacteria and some, such as E.Coli, can last for months on surfaces.

So how can hoteliers invest in surface technology to improve public health and the overall guest experience?

It can purify air

Some technologies are focusing on purifying air, such as Pureti’s photocatalytic applications. It utilises the natural process of plants. As well as purifying air it can also be applied to surfaces to help them stay cleaner for longer. Apparently this treatment has even been used by NASA! We know that air quality is so important for guest comfort and with many people seeking out less urban environments and a stronger connection to nature, technology like this could have far reaching benefits.

Pureti air purifying in a modern kitchen

Image credit: Pureti

Texture can limit transmission

The texture of surfaces can play a key role in not only the aesthetics of a room but in helping to eliminate viral transmission of bacteria. The Imperial College London looked at different textures and coatings and found that copper surfaces provide antibacterial protection, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria within two hours. This raises some interesting ideas around materials used throughout the hotel environment, especially within heavy traffic areas such as lobbies and doorways.

Fabrics for more than comfort

New technology extends past hard surfaces and covers soft furnishings too; Aguaguard365 is an example of an antibacterial protection system for fabrics that helps keep textiles free of bacteria. From bed linens to towels, technology is constantly evolving.

A lounge that has been annotated to show furniture

Image credit: Aguaguard365

So as travel restrictions begin to lift and consumers consider staying away from home again, it’s clear that surface technology can do more than just elevate appearance – it can help to instil trust and boost confidence, something that’s crucial in the current climate.

Since you’re here, why not read Harris Jackson’s article on bringing the outside in & reconnecting with nature?

Harris Jackson is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Harris Jackson

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

New bathroom products from Gessi cater for designers trying to achieve masculine and feminine design aesthetics in wellness spaces. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

Variety is the spice of life, is the message we are receiving when hearing all about Gessi’s latest news. The bathroom brand has made a name for itself by challenging convention in wellness spaces – think spotlight shower and spa-like bathrooms. But it’s recent launch goes another step further to look at shapes, furnishings, and colours associated to both masculine and feminine spaces – all while putting an emphasis on modern traveller demands, such as hygiene and wellbeing.

“Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living.”

Continuing the tradition of transformation started in 2002 with Rettangolo and the Private Wellness Program introduction, Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living. Gessi’s Private Wellness Program’s mission is to create spaces of wellbeing in the bathroom. The brand has expanded on this concept to offer separate bathroom areas dedicated to men and women’s distinctly different needs. In this vision, “the woman and man of Gessi” are conscious inhabitants of the contemporary home seeking exclusive areas, totally dedicated and reserved for themselves.

Anello_Ambiente#726 copia

Image credit: Gessi

In a statement, the bathroom brand explains the contrasting demands for men and women when it comes down to bathroom design. “Contemporary men and women relish their rituals of personal care and the need for moments of isolation and relaxation to unwind from the day’s stress,” the statement said. “While both genders seek peace, rebalancing, and regeneration in the bath space, their habits and use of this vital environment remain substantially different. The increasingly restricted shared spaces of domestic life create the need for a decompression room. In answer to this need, Gessi has introduced coordinated furnishing elements that offer men and women divided environments of wellbeing, personalised for their personality, daily rituals and style.”

In Gessi’s vision, wellbeing is achieved in the “appropriation of one’s own space by choosing its shapes, furnishings, and colours”. So everyone feels comfortable in a habitat that has been exclusively created for him/her. Like fragrances, jewellery, or clothing, the new Anello and Ingranaggio collections are designed differently to celebrate each gender and make the bathroom a place that honours men and women’s unique needs.

The design of Ingranaggio has a masculine soul and speaks of essential vigour. It reminds us that we are the perfect mechanism of our existence with its elegant handle shaped like a toothed wheel, evoking a gear in motion. The energy of a moving clockwork ideally transfers to the environment and to the user of this collection.

Ingranaggio_Ambiente#187 copia

Image credit: Gessi

Meanwhile, the Anello design has the feminine elegance and modern grace of a jewel and is notable for its distinctive circular handle. As a symbol of infinity and love, the ring becomes the promise of lasting beauty in her setting of peace and wellbeing.

An downward facing view of modern bathroom products

Image credit: Gessi

Each collection offers a variety of models and finishes perfect for further personalisation of your environment – “Anello, the woman of Gessi” and “Ingranaggio, the man of Gessi.” Gessi’s vision is to revolutionise the bathroom with products designed for men and women’s individual tastes that can also be combined harmoniously or switched to satisfy individual tastes, so to create one room with distinct wellness spaces for each.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

Amsterdam-based interior designer Saar Zafrir joins editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss his latest project to redesign The ReMIX Hotel in paris as well as his wider mission to ’boutique-ify’ large corporate hotels…

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

2012 was a pivotal year for Saar Zafrir, who changed lanes from a 12-year career in finance to take a year off. The next 12 months prepared him to ‘get into the game’, taught by his own passion to become an interior design, at first starting small with friends and family but soon being offered a pathway into the hotel design arena. With a new focus on hospitality and F&B design, Zafrir’s approach was born; to transforming established corporate-style hotels and hospitality groups into fun and lively boutique brands that speak loudly to the growing demands of the modern traveller.

A rich narrative told in the interior design inside Sir Savigny Berlin

Image credit: Sir Savigny Berlin

In fact, in less than a decade, the designer has catapulted himself as a unique creative and developer of hospitality projects throughout Europe, including the award-winning Brown Beach House Croatia (a former tobacco processing plant on the Dalmatian Coastline of Croatia, transformed into a signature Brown Hotels property) as well as Max Brown HotelsSir Savigny Berlin and Gekko Group’s Provocateur Berlin Hotel.

Image credit: Provocateur Berlin Hotel

Through savvy attention to detail, Zafrir creates more than simply beautiful spaces. His work gives spaces a second life, thus generating a new audience that can optimise revenues for hotel chains. The latest example is The ReMix Hotel in Paris., a new hotel that was slated to officially open this month located in Paris’ 19th arrondissement and a longtime property of Schroder’s Group. 

Schroder’s hired Zafrir to develop a new brand to revamp the pre-existing 259-key hotel property in Paris’ Parc of La Villette. With a colourful and eclectic design influenced by the retro and abstract flair of the 1980’s, The ReMIX Hotel is a far pivot from the previous concept behind the original Schroder’s property. Inspired by the 1980’s pop song ‘Forever Young,’ Zafrir has worked to reminisce the essence of the 80’s tune into a modern day design style. The result is a playful yet sophisticated atmosphere with vivid colours, mix of patterns and textures and custom-made furnishings. The ReMIX Hotel will be an anchor for drawing in new breaths of culture, art, entertainment and dining in Paris’ 19th arrondissement.

A bold bar with green and gold explored in the interior design

Image caption: Interior designer Saar Zafrir explored a distinct, loud ’80s interior design theme when redesigning the F&B areas inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang


Hamish Kilburn: First things first, what inspired your career change from finance to enter the hotel design landscape?

Saar Zafrir: After 12 years within the capital world, I decided to take a year off. I used my shares to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv. During my year off, I decided to work on design and renovation. Whilst getting familiar with design, I taught myself how to use Sketchup, AutoCAD and congeneric software and I totally fell for it. The design was so brilliant that I began to design for both my family and friends. Two years later I bought partnership within the hotel industry and I sold my apartment. That’s how I got into the game.’’

HK: You’ve become known for modernising corporate-style hotels into fresh new brands. Is there any transformation project that you’re specifically proud of?

SZ: “Yes, ReMIX. ReMIX used to be an extremely dull cooperate hotel. We managed to transform it into a very exciting, fascinating hotel people love to visit, even just to take pictures.’’


HK: What is one trend that you wish will never return?
SZ: Terrazzo, for sure.

HK: What items during lockdown could you not have lived without?
SZ: “I would say both my oven and stove. I can’t choose.’’ 

HK: What makes a good design team?
“Working together as a team to inspire each other along the way.’’ 

HK: Who is your interior design hero?
SZ: “Philippe Starck! He was the first to create something that really went out of the box.

HK: Tell me about the concept for your latest project: The ReMIX Hotel in Paris.

SZ: “The client presented us a very large building that needed total renovation. The building was built in the 80’s.

I had always dreamt of designing a hotel 80’s themed. I have always been a fan of the song ‘’Forever Young’’ by Alphaville. The design pitch was shared with the client and the investors of the project and they liked the idea very much. We wanted to bring back the 80s with the roller-skates, the pop, the neon and the rubiscos. The initial idea was to not just open one ReMIX hotel but more of them.’’

HK: What challenges did you face with this project?

SZ: The big challenge was to transform a very old and dull building into something that’s very exciting to look at. It has also been a challenge to convince the client of our initial design. Additionally, we were tied to a very tight budget. It has been a challenge to meet the client’s needs whilst taking the budget into consideration.’’ 

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

HK: Finally, can you tell me about some exciting projects you have in the pipeline?

SZ: “Yes, so we created a new brand called Cardo. Cardo is an autograph collection. It will appear in Rome (640 rooms), Paris (300 rooms) and Brussels (540 rooms). Cardo is a cooperate hotel that is characterised by super cool brands, an amazing F&B concept and Spa. I am convinced that it will soon become an evolutionary concept within the hospitality industry.’’

Main image credit: Saar Zafrir

1 - Bangle LED - Image Credit Luum

Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co and lighting studio Luum

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co and lighting studio Luum

Capturing the natural world in fixed form by merging light with scale and sculpture, Luum transforms interior spaces with lighting products from Heathfield & Co that stirs a heightened sense of wonder, excitement and energy…

1 - Bangle LED - Image Credit Luum

Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co is something we have come to expect – take a look at the Linden Collection, for example. But it’s the brand’s latest collaboration that is really hitting the right notes with our editorial team. Established in 2015, in close connection with Heathfield & Co, design studio Luum presents an inspired collection of beautiful contemporary fittings and large scale installations commissioned for clients across residential, hospitality and commercial sectors.

From the interlocking pyramid configuration of their bestselling Bangle to the decorative disks of Leaf or Samara, the brand’s sculptural fixtures transform interior spaces.

A cascade of aluminium discs pierced with a sunray design, Leaf (pictured above) offers unlimited design possibilities. Look up and you are reminded of the dappled light of the sun filtered through the canopy of a tree. The boundaries of the pendant and the space beyond it are blurred, creating an elegant and adaptable centrepiece.

Inspired by contemporary jewellery, Bangle is constructed by a series of pyramids locked together in a scattered formation to create a geometric sculpture. Available as the original design (pictured above left) or with integrated diffused LED strips (pictured above right) Bangle is a modern lighting sculpture, creating lively interaction between light and shade.

Heathfield & Co is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Luum

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke, owners and hotel designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, have not had the smoothest ride to open their labour of love. Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn catches up with the duo as they prepare to welcome the world to their dream boutique hotel…

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Back in early 2020, before Covid-19 had become the distraction of the year, Hotel Designs was packing its bags ready to check in to a new boutique hotel that had made it onto the editorial team’s radar. Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Puglia’s White City of Ostuni – on the heel of Italy – and is elegantly sheltered inside a restored red palace.

Arial view of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team were particularly impressed by the story of Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners of the property, who painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair.

Unfortunately, days before our scheduled trip to review the new 11-key hotel that stands in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of the city around it, the spread of Covid-19 put a major halt on plans to visit the naturally stunning destination.

Almost one year later, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Lauber and Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project.

A vintage looking room inside 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hamish Kilburn: How did you come to take on the restoration project?

Pascale Lauber: It was in 2016. We were actually in Puglia to recharge and had no intention of taking on a new project at all. An Ostunian friend invited us to visit the Palazzo Rosso and we agreed, simply to admire the architecture of such a historic building. However, as soon as the red carriage door opened it was love at first sight and we knew instantly that we would not be able to resist. We were immediately drawn to the potential of the centuries-old gem. The height of its ceilings, its vaults, its frescoes, its red-stone.

HK: Did you always know that you wanted the building to be transformed into a hotel?

Ulrike Bauschke: For us, it was unthinkable not to make the building a hotel and accessible to the public, it really is just too beautiful to stay hidden! We have shaken up the rules of real estate and interior design in projects all over the world, from Romont, Lausanne and Verbier, Switzerland; to Paris, New York and Cape Town and knew instantly that we could do the same here.

“Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters” – Ulrike Bauschke.

A artefact of a monkey on a bar

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: What discoveries did you make during the restoration?

UK: We worked with conservator Maria Buongiorno to uncover the mysteries of the multi-secular Palazzo, which has so many stories to tell from the 17th Century to present day. The most ancient parts of the building from the 1700s including fireplaces, stone vaults and also frescoes, like the magnificent “Jesus and the Samaritan” were significant discoveries. Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters that suggests that the Palazzo once housed a convent.

PL: Equally, the beautiful original majolica tiles, which have been brought to new life in Bar 700. On the back of some of those tiles, we found an M stamp, the brand of a famous workshop owned by the three Massa brothers, ceramics masters of early 18th century Naples, suggesting the building was once in Neapolitan hands.

a dark room with high vaulted ceilings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: You both worked on the project together, who does what and are you always in agreement on the design details?

UK: We have opened and renovated restaurants, boutique hotels and apartments all over the world together and we make a complimentary pair, each with our own, very distinct strengths.

PL: I’m an instinctive designer, something that runs through my veins and guides everything I do, so the architecture and interiors were very much my vision. I took the lead with the renovation, but the way I work is with few words and thousands of images in my head. Sometimes I wish one could invent a copy machine to print all my ideas that are spinning in my head 24 hours a day… I couldn’t have brought it to life exactly how I wanted it without the help of Ulrike, who as a passionate traveller as well knows exactly what makes an outstanding hotel.

UK: Yes so we are pretty much in agreement and the only challenge was to show and create understanding of what Pascale’s vision was. She had it all in her head so between us bringing it to life exactly as she envisioned it was the biggest challenge.

A large red headboard in a vintage setting

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: Let’s address the elephant in the room… You opened the hotel in the middle of Covid-19, how was this?

UK: The timing could not have been worse for us and like everyone in the hospitality and travel industry we have been badly affected. However, we’ve been luckily has it seemed that everybody wanted to come to Puglia when we finally managed to open our doors and welcome guests throughout the summer months. With only 11 rooms and plenty of beautiful outdoor space, the hotel is actually ideal for safe travel in these times so we are lucky in that respect as well and have always made sure the health and wellbeing of our guests and team is paramount. We have been blown away with the glowing feedback from our guests and if we can make a success of a hotel opening during a global pandemic, we can do anything!

HK: Pascale, can you explain your personal design ethos and would you say Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel embodies this?

PL: Each project I do is so different and distinct, but the creative association of old and new art, objects and furnishings in a head-spinning and yet personal mix is my trademark and signature design style. I have a vision that is multicultural and original down to the smallest detail and this creates a unique result that is coherent, deeply modern and stimulating. I would say that Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa embodies my design ethos. The heart of the hotel’s design and what I really set out to achieve was creating exquisite design in every detail with beautiful energy while also preserving and celebrating the history of the building.

HK: Where do you look to for inspiration?

UK: We love travelling and have been lucky to live around the world, providing a fantastic source of inspiration. Visiting countless international art and trade shows, but also local flea-markets, is always inspiring and for this particular project the architecture and heritage of Puglia was certainly an influence.

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: If (or should I say ‘when’!) I can come and visit the hotel, what should I do first?

UK: If you can, request to stay in the room called Onyx. Every one of our guest rooms and suites is different, but Onyx, which is black, is a firm favourite. Once you have checked it out, head to the pool, which is the only one in the city, for a refreshing swim followed by some time unwinding in the garden and of course an aperitivo at Bar 700. The next day you will be ready to enjoy beautiful Puglia- the food, culture, people, history, landscapes, countryside and sea!

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

PL: With only 11 guest rooms, our friendly team are able to offer an insider experience so be sure to ask them for their personal tips and recommendations and also enjoy some of our bespoke experiences, from burrata making to motorbike tours or trips out on our boat, a former carabinieri boat transformed into a private yacht, Dragonfly.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Despite modern hotels generally being clean and safe spaces, there is no doubt that hygiene will become of the many new demands from modern travellers in a post-pandemic world. In a recent panel discussion, hoteliers from around the world gathered to discuss how to reassure the post-corona consumer. One of the major conclusions was that the hospitality industry has become more interested in learning about new hotel hygiene solutions; methods and innovations when it comes to cleaning surfaces and killing bad bacteria that is airborne.

Covid-19 was the cruel catalyst that forced all industries to confront hygiene. With the pandemic forcing much of hospitality’s doors shut once more – and at the very least keeping guests at a distance – it was only ever going to be a matter of time before new products to emerge, all of which launched with claims of being  ‘unlike any other’ on the market.

To cut through the noise, here are seven effective hygiene products and services on the market that have caught our editorial attention in recent months.

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

What’s unique about Room To Breathe, aside from the technology, is the brand’s narrative. Before Covid-19 was even a headline, the team at Room To Breathe were planning on launching a service that would ‘transform indoor environments into hypoallergenic spaces’. The seven step process, which includes purging, deep cleaning, fogging, UV technology, protext, sanifying and testing, works to continuously maintain clean air and surfaces removing up to 99.999 per cent of coronoviruses including influenzas, bacteria, allergens, mould, germs & VOC’s.

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

One of major concerns hotels will have when introducing new hygiene protocols – especially when this shift in attitude confronts guests’ behaviour – will be finding solutions that do not interfere with the design of the space. KEUCO’s sleek sanitiser dispensers are suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red hygiene tap – close up lifestyle shot

Image credit: GROHE

With hygiene being a ‘top priority’ for the brand, so much so that it is launching its first CPD module on the topic this February, The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is an ideal air purifier for guestrooms and office spaces. The Simple ‘plug in and go’ product breathes clean air indoors. The Blue Pure 411, which was recently specified in all rooms at Page8 Hotel in London, uses Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology to remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens.

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is a hygiene solution that has been launched by Villeroy & Boch. The brand’s new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The easy-to-clean DirectFlush WCs is ideal for both private households and commercial projects.

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

The need for a hygiene friendly finishes doesn’t mean that interior projects have to compromise on design, at least not when it comes to laminated boards and HPL materials from UNILIN panels. These surfaces can be cleaned several times a day by 70 per cent alcohol solutions without fear of damage, helping in the ongoing maintenance and daily hygiene of commercial environments.

With the UNILIN Evola Collection, specifiers can bring the feel and look of natural materials, brushed metals and terrazzo, explore the crisp ‘clean’ colours of pure white and bright fresh green, or embrace the soft-touch effect of Super Matt Black; creating surfaces that are at once beautiful and hygienic. What’s more, with more than 190 options, there’s really no limit to creativity.

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

Ever since I have written about hotel design, I have had to confront rumours that robots will replace front-of-house hospitality. Despite the human touch being is irreplaceable when it comes to service, we cannot deny that Covid-19 has created new challenges for designers and hoteliers when creating public areas. In a recent debate, it was suggested that, to feed an on-demand society’s expectations, the hotel lobby will become more theatrical in the post-pandemic world, as practical elements like ‘check in’ will take place online prior to stepping inside the building. Therefore, there is a strong argument that the role of front-of-house staff will also change following this demand and, suddenly, the idea of robot butlers suddenly doesn’t sound so radical.

As I write this, we have a journalist on the ground in Las Vegas to explore all the latest tech trends emerging in hospitality at the annual CES. We cannot yet conclusively answer as to whether or not we predict robots having a new role in a post-pandemic world, but we can certainly suggest that, considering all of the solutions above have developed from research and development, technology will very much be front and centre of all hygiene solutions in 2021 and beyond.

If you have a hygiene products that you would like to put on the radar of our editorial team, please email press releases and images directly to our editor. The HD Edit on ‘Safe Design’ will go live on February 20. Between on and then, you can re-watch our latest HD Live session on Reassuring the Post Corona Consumer.

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

As part of our editorial series exploring the wider context of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection, Hotel Designs understands more about the 1920s and ’30s, art-deco inspired pieces that the bathroom brand has launched to the market…

Characterised by the unmistakable shapes and colours synonymous with the 1920s and 1930s style, the Art Deco range by Burlington was inspired by architecture and vintage tableware.


Drawing heavily on the linear and geometric designs of the early modern art movements, the elegant fan-like shape of the Charleston pattern creates an eye-catching focal point. Complementing the traditional silhouette of Burlington’s ceramics, the delicate monochrome illustration is ideal for those wanting to add a unique embellishment to their bathroom interior.

feature in a basin

Image credit: Charleston, Art Deco collection by Burlington


A design that exudes confidence and charm, the vibrant appearance of the Vienna pattern blends a classic retro colour palette with the geometric shapes reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Inspired by the yellow ochre and black shades in vintage tableware, Vienna brings a playful nod of the roaring twenties into today’s bathroom.

Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Image credit: Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington


Inspired by the iconic Martinez Hotel balcony in Cannes, the hand-illustrated pattern fuses both linear and circular detailing, resulting in an exquisite and attention-grabbing decoration. A subtle incorporation of gold echoes the distinctive balcony design, leaving a lasting impression.

Burlington is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Burlington

First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

W Design International has completed Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which is scheduled to open in October 2020. Before then, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside…

Showcasing innovative creations of Japanese and international artists under the concept ‘different by design’, Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which will open in October 2020, will mark the brand’s arrival in Japan.

W Design International (W/D/I), assigned by Sankei Building, initiated the overall design and realiastion of Aloft Ginza by combining old-school aesthetics inspired by Ginza’s social stories and industrial design. The new 16-storey boutique design hotel with rooftop bar is filled with radiant and iconic works by select artists. W/D/I curated a total of 11 artists whose installation-art was allocated to embody the ambience at Aloft Ginza.

With more than 16 years of experience on hospitality design projects across Japan and the Asia Pacific region, W/D/I is specialist firm in the hospitality design sector, providing strategic and creative solutions for projects in Japan and beyond.

“The guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe.”

True to its ‘Ginza Vogue’ flair, the eclectic style of the 205 loft-like guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe. The hotel is the ideal accommodation for global travellers who love open spaces and stylish boutique design. “Ginza Vogue” also pays homage to Toshiro Mifune’s 100th birthday, a legendary Japanese actor who was loved by film fans internationally.

The ‘different by design’ scheme has been achieved largely by W/D/I collaborating with lightning, audiovisual and music design by WORKTECHT to create one-off meaningful experiences. The atmosphere created was inspired by the Miyuki-Zoku movement from 1964, where Japanese teenagers expressed a cutting-edge and sophisticated style (the suffix “zoku” means “subculture” or “social club“). Meanwhile globally in 1964, pop art changed the art world. Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein became superstars, and many of them collaborated. W/D/I visualised this Ivy-fashion and rock spirit for “Neo Miyuki-Zoku” in 2020.

Aloft Tokyo Ginza is located less than a five-minute walk away from both Ginza Station and Higashi-Ginza Station, and will open aptly while the city is preparing to face the greatest sporting event in modern times, the Olympics Games, ideal for savvy international travellers who are expected to attend.

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

Product watch: Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics

The Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics is simple yet elegant mix of bedroom furniture. Hotel Designs explores…

A perfect complement to the brand’s other ranges of traditional chairs and tables, Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics is ideal for hotels and other accommodation styles.

The range consists of two styles of wardrobe, a bedside cabinet with a choice of marble tops, a luggage rack, a bedroom desk with gilded leather insert, a selection of bedroom/ desk chairs, bedroom tables and reclaimed lighting.

This range of contract bedroom furniture is crafted in solid and veneered European Oak and manufactured to contract quality standards. The design and detailing recalls that of the late Victorian, Arts & Crafts era, and will blend easily into the interiors of many hotels or inns of the period.

The Newport Collection is available in either a light or medium oak stain and polished in a resistant polyurethane lacquer.

Download our brochure here.

Taylor’s Classics is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Taylor’s Classics

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

The Mayson is said to be Dublin’s ‘hottest new boutique hotel’ and one of the most modern and architecturally striking hotels added to the Dublin skyline. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

Located in the heart of Dublin Docklands, The Mayson is an exciting restoration project by ODOS of 45,000 square feet.

It now shelters a 94-key hotel, as well as destination bars, restaurants, a gym, ample event space and an outdoor courtyard.

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The Mayson is a redevelopment of two protected structures – one formerly a town house built in 1860 and the other an industrial warehouse dating back to 1870. Architects ODOS have kept the original features and fixtures such as the fireplaces and the restoration of the old Valence & McGrath pub including its shop front and worked in collaboration with ODON on interiors.

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

“This exciting restoration project is a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay,” said David O’Shea, founder of ODOS. “ Both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters. The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare to establish this forgotten building.”

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The hotel also features an unusual ‘living’ wall where plants grow up through an internal courtyard, adding to the unconventional off-beat ethos of The Mayson. Offering a rooftop restaurant with views of all over Dublin, Ryleigh’s restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and The Mayson Bar, which serves food all day long, there is a wide variety of food available.

Main image credit: The Mayson

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.


The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

Murals may be in right now, but Hamilton Litestat’s adaptable Perception CFX wiring accessories will see you through this season, the next, and many more to come…

The wallcoverings trend shows no signs of abating, whether that’s tropical prints, traditional florals, art deco or geometric patterns.

Taking it one step further, scenic and mural wallpapers will continue to be extremely popular for 2020, creating huge picturesque scenes to get lost in. With so many options available, there’s something to suit every property and taste, from serene landscapes and textures to dramatic panoramas.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 2 Gang, 2 Way Toggle Switch | Image credit: Allie Smith/Hamilton Litestat

While changing a wall covering to suit the latest trend can be relatively simple, updating electrical wiring accessories to deliver the perfect finishing touch can be more difficult and costly. But Hamilton’s Perception CFX range of electrical wiring accessories are almost imperceptible, allowing a wall design to really stand out. The plate design has concealed fixings and features a 4.2mm snap-on clear front plate with a slightly rounded edge that allows your chosen wall covering to be inserted for a seamless look that blends discreetly into the décor.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, Push On/Off Rotary Multi-Way Dimmer | Image credit: Thanos Pal/Hamilton Litestat

We’ve seen striking interiors make fantastic use of these wiring accessories, with hotels and restaurants featuring the solutions on mural walls that depict local landscapes and historical images. And the beauty and benefit are that the insert within the plate can be changed as the wall design does, meaning that this wiring accessory will last the test of both time and trend.

Plus, there’s no compromise when it comes to configurations as Perception CFX is available in 1, 2, 3 or 4-gang plates, with a wide range of switch options including rocker, toggle, rotary and rocker dimmer switches. Power sockets, media plates, hotel card switches, Grid Fix and EuroFix are also available.

We’re particularly lusting after the bold Kews Leafy Florals mural by ATA Designs, which can really sing when paired with the Perception CFX switch plate. Whatever your wall covering, Hamilton’s range allows it to make a statement without distraction.

Hamilton Litestat, which sponsored the ‘‘technology’ seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, 2 Way Rocker Switch | Image credit: Vinicius Amano/Hamilton Litestat

IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

With Greece becoming a popular go-to destination post-lockdown, Hotel Designs explores the interior design story of Bellonias Villas in Santorini, created by Greek firms K Studio and Interni by Moda Bagno…

Natural, simple elegance is at the heart of Bellonias Villas, which is made up of 26 beach suites scattered alongside the black volcanic Kamari beach, on the east coast of the island of Santorini overlooking the mountain of ancient Thira.

This boutique hotel is also home to Elia Restaurant, a pool-side cocktail bar, and its own private stretch of beach, making it the ideal choice for couples and families who seek stylish, unpretentious luxury and beachside relaxation in a peaceful part of Santorini.

This is a contemporary project that conveys the passion and creativity of the local owners, in combination with the innovative & fresh thinking of up-and-coming Greek architects & artists. The exterior bar, pool area, restaurant and reception were designed by Athens-based design gurus K Studio. Interiors are by Greek company Interni by ModaBagno. Drawing inspiration from the unique landscape of Santorini, the designed environment is composed of natural materials such as wood and stone, with a contemporary aesthetic.  

Stylish white interior suite overlooking the sea

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

The hotel’s beach suites reflect this philosophy of modern elegance paired with the traditional beauty of simplicity. Pressed cement floors and built-in beds and sofas are complemented by selected designer pieces and artistic details adding flashes of colour to a largely monochrome backdrop. This fusion of traditional Cycladic elements with a modern design concept creates a sophisticated environment with a warm, natural feel. 

The 26 suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes including: 

The honeymoon suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Located on the upper level of the hotel, framing direct sea views from its balcony and its private outdoor hot tub is The Honeymoon Suite. An indoor staircase separates the upper level bedroom from the lower level, which features a spacious bathroom, a fully equipped kitchenette and a living area for lounging. 

Superior Sea View Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

These suites offer direct sea views from a furnished balcony or terrace, and sleep two adults in an airy open plan space, with double bed, a fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. Sea View Suites are located either on the upper level or on the ground floor. 

Apartment Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Apartment suites, expected to be in popular demand post-pandemic, have a furnished garden view terrace or balcony, and come in a variety of sizes, comfortably accommodating up to five people – perfect for families. There is one bedroom, plus a separate living space that can become a second sleeping area if required. A fully equipped kitchenette with dining area and bathroom complete the apartment.

Studio Suite

Small but perfectly formed, the Studio Suites sleep two adults in a double or twin beds, with furnished garden view balcony or terrace, fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. 

Elia Restaurant

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

With an inspiring open air setting, and delicious food by award-winning Chef Christos Papageorgiou, Elia is one of the finest dining options in Santorini. Set between the seafront of Kamari beach and the hotel’s chic pool area, the restaurant has a stylish yet unpretentious ambiance and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Within the hotel, a wellness area includes whirlpool tub, gym, steam, sauna and treatment room is available for guests to book on request. 

A note from the editor: If the industry has learned anything during its forced hibernation over the last few months, it’s that simplicity and authenticity is going to be a significant demand for consumers checking into the post-pandemic world. Stripping interiors to reveal a minimalist design, exposing the architecture of a building, and injecting personality into private and public areas with interesting lighting concepts, and stylish art and the use of meaningful colour – much like what Bellonias Villas does so effortlessly – is going to be 

Main image credit: Bellonias Villas

Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

1024 1024 Hamish Kilburn
Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

Salaries and conditions in hospitality can be a touchy subject. It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what your staff need — and expect — to do their jobs properly. Planday’s industry expert Jonne Tanskanen explains how you can get an exclusive look at what your staff want with the results of the largest hospitality salary survey…

If you asked your staff to rank the changes they would like at work, what would they say?

For 66 per cent of hospitality workers in the UK, the answer is better financial remuneration. Then it’s a better work-life balance and the opportunities for training, development and promotion. 

Image credit: Planday

So what — exactly — does that look like?

Discussions about salaries and conditions can be touchy and it’s a challenge to balance the investment you need to make in people to create quality experiences and keep your business plan on track. In a busy hotel, you can often schedule staff for the right number of hours but then reality gets in the way and your staff do more overtime, often with very little notice.

Smart businesses understand that the best possible investment any hotel can make is in finding, training and keeping quality staff. They create better experiences for your guests, keep loyal customers coming back and help you grow your business along with it.

But keeping quality staff longer takes investment and time for any HR Manager. And that’s why Planday recently partnered with the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Show to hear exactly what more than 1,800 hospitality staff want. 

In an exclusive report that you can download today, you’ll get the data you need to help keep your employees happy and grow your business.

Join the hundreds of hospitality businesses around the world with the insight they need to keep quality staff for longer.

  • Understand the importance of employee benefits
  • View what benefits are available and used throughout the industry
  • Learn about other drivers that keep employees in their role
  • See the average annual salaries of hospitality workers
  • Find out how many extra hours are usually added to contracted amount per week
  • Read what hospitality employees feel about their work-life balance

Make a smarter investment in the staff that help you stand out from the crowd. Get the insights you need today. 

Planday is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Planday

Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

In the wake of pandemic, Hotel Designs has made a few amendments to this year’s in-house event calendar. Editor Hamish Kilburn explains…

The internal whole team at Hotel Designs and Forum Events have been working tireless, reacting to the latest government guidelines, in order to organise premium networking events that are safe and effective for designers, hoteliers, architects, developers and key-industry suppliers.

Ahead of officially opening nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020, here’s some clarification around the latest amendments to this year’s in-house events.

Hotel Designs LIVE | October 13, 2020 | Virtual event

The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on October 13 (more details on the line-up and how to participate coming soon).

In order to continue to create conversations like no other, Hotel Designs has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.  

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place online on June 23, defined the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.


The Brit List Awards 2020 | November 12, 2020 | Virtual event

The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

Following last year’s spectacular event, the nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects has begun.

Unlike previous years, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners’ party (MEET UP London) scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London.

Simply click here to apply/nominate free of charge for The Brit List Awards 2020.



MEET UP London/The Brit List Winners’ Party | January 28, 2021 | Minotti London

For Hotel Designs’ first live networking event staged since lockdown, The Brit List Awards 2020 is gatecrashing MEET UP London.

Sheltered safely inside Minotti London’s premium and spacious Fitzrovia showroom, MEET UP London will welcome the shortlisted finalists and winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. As well as celebrating Britain as a design and hospitality hub, the event will be themed ‘Inspiring Creativity’. To aptly mark this, Hotel Designs has invited an award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta to become headline speakers at the event. 

Applying principles of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology, the visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before. This will be followed by an engaging talk discussing how and why sound should be considered when designing the hotel of the future. From Jet Lag to Mindfulness solutions, their unique collaboration represents the synergy and creativity needed to future-proof hospitality.

MEET UP North | May 6 | Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

In response to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, MEET UP North has been forced to postpone its plans until next year. The event, which is Hotel Designs’ leading networking evening in the north, will return to Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6, 2021.

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete and open this year – the theme of MEET UP North will be Manchester On The Boards. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers for the industry’s leading networking event in the north.


If you would like to sponsor any of our upcoming events, please email Katy Phillips, or call +44 (0) 1992 374050. 

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, dif